Kevin Allen of USA Today just stopped by and handed me a plaque that he's been carrying around for three years - for best game story of the 2003-04 season in the Professional Hockey Writers' Association annual writing contest. The awards were presented at the draft in Ottawa in 2005 after the lockout ended and it's the only one since 1980 that I missed - we were on vacation; it was a low-key event handled by our Ottawa man David Naylor. I felt really sheepish about that one since I wrote just game story the entire year - for Game 6 of the Calgary Flames-Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup final, the one in which it looked as if Martin Gelinas had a legitimate goal disallowed and Tampa ended up winning it in overtime. The Lightning went on to win the Stanley Cup in seven games. Obviously, it was a game rich in color and detail and since it happened on a Saturday night, there wasn't the deadline pressure we usually face at the Globe.
Oh here's Mark Whicker, the fine columnist from the Orange County Register. He wants to double-check a fact: Which of the six members of the Montreal Canadiens' five Stanley Cup dynasties, when asked which current player he would have liked to play with, answered: Guy Lafleur. It was Dickie Moore, who clearly didn't hear the question right. Jean Beliveau also mentioned that he would have liked to play with Lafleur, but noted that once in an all-star game, he had Bobby Hull on the left side and Gordie Howe on the right. Pretty good company all night.
Whicker, incidentally, has a great insider's schtick that he uses in his paper every spring. Everytime a team gets eliminated from the playoffs, he notes that they've gone to the lake (he's fascinated by the concept of Ontario cottage country). We're about four hours by car from our place; I told him if things weren't as crazy busy as they are, that he should find a way to pop by for a visit - just to get a sense of what the fuss is all about.
Ira Podell of the Associated Press wanted to know if I'd slipped my "Weekends" mix to the soundboard operator here at Scotiabank Place. I told him no, because if I did, they'd be playing Cat Stevens' cover of Another Saturday Night right now.
It's loud inthe building, but I'm not sure it's any louder than it was last spring at the Rexall Centre in Edmonton for the Oilers-Carolina Hurricanes' Stanley Cup. That sound physically assaulted my ear drums.
I thought Alanis Morissette was supposed to sing the national anthems, but apparently that's Monday for Game 4. Tonight it was OPP constable Lyndon Slewidge. The Sens are reportedly undefeated when Alanis sings (my colleague David Shoalts calls that "cruel and unusual punishment."
Chris Kunitz is dressed for the Ducks, but not in the starting five; although it took coach Randy Carlyle just seconds to get him out there instead of Travis Moen. The referees are Dan O'Halloran and Paul Devorski and it looks as if they're going to be particular about making sure Ottawa gets the last change. The first time the Spezza line was on the ice, the Ducks won the draw and Carlyle got Sami Pahlsson & Co. out there instantly.