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Cristobal Huet Knows The French Are in Deep Against Canada

“We’ll lose,” says Huet about Tuesday’s Canada-French match-up at the World Hockey Championship.

The French got off to a start they’d rather forget when Austria scored nine seconds after the opening faceoff to set the world championship record for the fastest goal from the start of a game.

Austria won 6-0 and the French then lost by the same score against Switzerland.

“French hockey needs a little bit of everything. It has been getting tougher the last three or four years to be competitive,” says Huet, who is the back-up goalie with the Los Angeles Kings. “The competitive level has gone down and people are trying to rebuild hockey in France and that is a good sign. But we have to bring up the level of the game in the country and we need some competition in order to be successful.”

Huet could have said no to coming to the worlds but he is not the type who would turn his back on his country.

“It is always a pleasure to come here. I know a lot of guys who came here because they could help the French program and the country and I have a lot of friends on the team and it is great to see them,” he says. “There are a lot of guys who played on the (French) junior national team and I played with them. Most of them I have known for a long time and we have a great core, a great group.”

France is ranked 17th in the world and they came to the tournament with the goal of staying in the A Pool. But the loss to Austria chased those dreams.
“We spent three years in Pool B and you can see the difference now. We need to work on a lot of stuff and we have to play better if we want to stay in Pool A. Most of the guys work to support themselves. But we have some quality players too and I think we need to find our game before we play Canada. It will be tough and we could end up in the relegation round.”

Huet says the NHL is popular in France and his countrymen will not be in awe of the Canadians when they meet each other.

“Some guys know the NHLers. They do not know everybody but they know the stars and probably the goalies. But it will be exciting for all the players and it will be a good test for us. Maybe we can play better and have fun out there.”


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André Brin
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403-777-4557
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Hockey Canada
403-284-6427
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Hockey Canada
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