Those days, it appears, are gone for the vet reporter. In writing on Lang's injury, he reveals that he really only looks at statistics, and that that standard is good enough for his piece to go across newspapers nationally.
He starts by breaking this news:
Robert Lang, the veteran centre who has been the team's best player all year long...
In giving away, the fact he doesn't actually watch the Canadiens much – by ranking Lang's season ahead of Koivu's, Markov's and Price's – his credibility is flushed when he says something like this:
And that might be the Canadiens' season, not simply Lang's, because unless general manager Bob Gainey can pull off a brilliant trade, his team is perilously thin at centre ice.
The common line from a common piece of unimaginative journalism.
There is no mention of Higgins and Koivu just returning, to conceivably insulate the Canadiens here. Or a thought that adding Tanguay back in could help at all.
One must remember that for a team perilously thin at centre, it sure did OK when losing their captain and best player of the season December, Saku Koivu. Koivu and Lang have only played in a handful of games together since (the three centres all present) – which itself has been the worst stretch of the season. Given a choice between Lang and Koivu, anyone watching the Habs night in, night out would have no trouble telling you who they want.
I guess Jack should try doing that sometime again. For now NHL.com/stats seems to suffice for research.