Seems that was quite an omen when goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury fell flat on his face while leading his team from the dressing room to the ice just before the Stanley Cup opener the other night.
His teammates, the Pittsburgh Penguins, have been falling flat on their faces ever since.
They’ve been thoroughly outplayed by the Detroit Red Wings in the first two games of the championship series. They haven’t scored a goal.
And their head coach, Michel Therrien, has embarrassed himself with silly suggestions that the Wings have resorted to sneaky obstruction tactics and that Detroit netminder Chris Osgood has resorted to acting when Pittsburghers have skated near him.
Hey, the Pens enjoyed a very, very good season. They ought not to spoil it now with inept play and senseless whining.
• Therrien’s assistant coach, Andre Savard, will likely become the Florida Panthers’ new head coach. . .Peter DeBoer, general manager and head coach of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, is among the top coaching prospects for the Ottawa Senators, who also are considering former NHLers Randy Cunneyworth and Craig Hartsburg. . .The Edmonton Oilers are thinking about trading flashy forward Raffi Torres for a defenceman.
• Don’t look now, but ex-Blue Jay Eric Hinske has more home runs and runs batted in with the Tampa Bay Rays than any Toronto player.
Hinske entered last night with nine homers and 25 RBIs in 140 at-bats -- as a utility player. He’s a major reason for the Rays’ ascent to top spot in the AL East.
Another is Dioner Navarro, who picked up new bats and a new stance and entered last night with a .369 average. He’s been baseball’s most productive catcher.
• Auto racing’s Danica Patrick did herself no favours by cussing and emulating a hockey goon after she was knocked out of the Indianapolis 500 the other day.
She already had her share of detractors, partly because of her self-promoting style and, sadly, partly because she’s a woman. But her foul mouth and goonish threats Sunday gave folks legitimate reasons to deride her.
• And, finally, Toronto will be the site of the ninth annual world championships in aesthetic group gymnastics next month.
Well, AGG is similar to rhythmic gymnastics, only the exercises are performed in larger groups, and without apparatus. The emphasis is on harmonic, flowing body movements. It’s judged more on artistic ability than on technical merit.
Countries competing against Canada at the championships will include the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Russia, the United States and El Salvador.
For details, visit www.2008aggworldchampionships.com.