“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
“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
“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.”