Well, that’s embarrassing

Page C3 of the Gazette this morning has a large photo of Ottawa’s Jason Spezza going in on Boston’s goalie, with the cutline: “Bruins goalie Tim Thomas reaches for a rebound as Sens’ Jason Spezza fights off defenceman Dennis Wideman last night.”

Except the story the photo accompanies is about Boston’s victory over Pittsburgh. And the article next to it talks about Ottawa’s loss to Philadelphia. Both games were played last night.

Boston beat Ottawa on Tuesday. Whoops.

Meanwhile, I learned at 8:30 last night that our Novice B team is playing a game today at 5:30 instead of the previously scheduled practice. Thank goodness for my team manager, the mother of one of our players. She’s a huge help. Despite her, who knows if we’ll get a team together?

Thanks to Wife One, Child Three will be at the game on time. Unfortunately (or should that be “fortunately”?), I’m stuck in a writing room downtown until 5:00 or so. I can’t do anything but watch our manager try to get the team together.

Oh, I didn’t mention I’m working on a TV series? More on that when I have two half-hours to rub together.


All of us Panther folk had assumed our Novice B hockey rivals had won their game last weekend – but they tied.

That leaves us 15-3, but puts the Cougars at 14-2-2. The other team had lost a Franc-Jeu point (every team with fewer than 8 penalty minutes in a game gets one Franc-Jeu point for that game) for a forfeit they gave up, which gives us 48 points and the Cougars 47. We finish in first at the end of the regular season.

(Even without the Franc-Jeu system, we’d be in first as the first tiebreaker is number of wins.)

Still, the Cougars outplayed our Panthers. Is it unsportsmanlike to wish they get knocked out of the double elimination playoffs before we have to play them?

Hockey talkies

I promised I’d write an analysis of Bob Gainey’s moves this week. I love ’em.

Let’s start with the trade that happened. The Habs sent Cristobal Huet to be Washington’s back-up goalie. What does that tell us?

First, it shows that no one was willing to pay the Canadiens the going rate for a starting goalie and that doesn’t surprise me. As I’ve posted before, Huet’s leg injuries – or something – harmed his game. He hasn’t been the same since.

The Huet trade also shows that Canadiens management thinks the team has better chance in the playoffs with Price between the pipes. This is a playoff team, and has a good chance to go deep into the playoffs. The team should not and did not sell out. The difference to the team, then, is the difference in level of quality of the back-up goalie over the remaining 20 or so games of the regular season.

Is there a drop-off between Huet and the new back-up, Halak? That’s debatable, but let’s assume there is one. Is that drop-off worth accepting for a second-round pick? Undoubtedly yes. That yes becomes more emphatic when you realize that not trading Huet would have resulted in no added value. Bravo, Bob Gainey.

What about the trade not made? Marian Hossa went to the Penguins for a two solid NHL players, one highly touted but admittedly risky prospect, and a first-round pick. Had the Canadiens matched that – with three NHL players, he indicated in an interview – the team would have lost an entire line. Is it safe to guess Higgins, Ryder, Grabovski, and a draft pick?

As a result, the Canadiens gain a scorer to play with Koivu and the younger Kostitsyn and goes with two fourth lines. Is that really an improvement? Even if it is, how much does it improve the team enough in this year’s playoffs? Hossa is a free agent after this year and there’s no guarantee he’d stay, particularly if the team goes out early and the local hockey idiots jump on his back.

Granted, Ryder is likely gone this summer without compensation, but Higgins is at worst a good third-line worker bee and the 20-year-old Grabovski has time to improve. Scouts like him. And what about the pick?

I don’t think the lack of a Hossa deal will make a difference between winning a Cup or not this year, but it certainly could have had such consequences in the future. Let someone else overpay. I just hope the Atlanta Thrashers don’t become a powerhouse.

Bonus novice hockey update:

In the last regular season game against the second-place team, our kids played an amazing second period. They kept the puck in the opponent’s zone nearly the full ten minutes, but couldn’t score. Unfortunately, the bulk of the kids lacked hustle in the first period and the defencemen had problems covering the front of the net. We entered the third down 1-0 and were schooled by a more disciplined, harder working team. We were down 4-0 when one of our hardest working players got his first goal of the year in the final minute. He’d led our team in assists because he was on the puck so much, but he panicked a bit when he had his few scoring opportunities. The loss was worth it just to see him finally pot one, and it wasn’t a cheap goal either.

Alas, we end the season 15-3-0, in second place to the team we just could not beat, who finished 15-2-1. The playoffs await.