That's definitely the point YOU are making. But several other people here have insinuated that the amount of punching is directly proportionate to the intensity or bitterness of the rivalry and lamented the future of rivalries because fighting is down. Which is crap. There are tons of REALLY intense rivalries that exist because of the game, and not because of the penalties.
Just like a-holes - everyone has an opinion.
And for the record - as a fan - it's been years since I 'felt' the intensity of past rivalries...IMHO - there isn't a rivalry today that can match-up to what we saw 15 plus years ago.
Yes - the fighting - the cheapshots - the hard nosed play are all key, and it lends a helping hand in hating a rival.