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Giguere's back, wants to claim No. 1 job with Ducks

Wednesday, 11.11.2009 / 3:55 PM / NHL Insider

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"Let's be clear on one thing. I'm not about to retire. I was being a little sarcastic about that. But I'm not going to just sit on the bench and collect my money. I want to play. Hopefully, I'll figure out a way to make it happen."
-- Jean-Sebastien Giguere

NEWARK, N.J. -- Now that Anaheim Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere appears fully recovered from a groin strain suffered last month, he's ready to reclaim his spot between the pipes.

The only problem is Jonas Hiller, who is making his seventh straight start in goal against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center Wednesday, is also a proven winner.

"We've always made the statement that we want people competing for the positions and it's no different today than it was yesterday or the day before," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We feel we have a 1A and a 1B tandem and it's just competition for the position and I think it's healthy."

On Monday, Giguere informed the Los Angeles Daily News that he'd sooner retire than become a backup goalie.

"Something needs to happen," Giguere said on Monday. "You get a guy like (Hiller) that's going to be a free agent at the end of the year and myself, making the money I'm making, either I'm leaving or he's leaving."

Following his team's morning skate at Prudential Center Wednesday, Giguere, who is winless in four appearances this season, was looking to clarify those remarks.

"I want to be part of this team," he said. "I want to be the No. 1 (goalie) in Anaheim. I love playing here. It didn't come out exactly the way I wanted (on Monday). I just wanted to say that I'm not done. I still want to play. I still want to battle and have fun.

"Let's be clear on one thing. I'm not about to retire. I was being a little sarcastic about that. But I'm not going to just sit on the bench and collect my money. I want to play. Hopefully, I'll figure out a way to make it happen."

When informed that Giguere stated he doesn't want to be a backup, Hiller smiled and said, "me either."

"If you want to be successful as a goalie, you want to play and both of us want to play," Hiller said. "I think it's a rivalry but really a fair one. We're good friends off the ice -- J.S. was always really supportive to me and sometimes I feel bad for his situation right now but on the other hand, I try to play well because that's all I can do. We're both supportive of each other. We just battle on the ice and work as hard as possible."

Hiller, who becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, is five years younger than Giguere (32), who has a no-trade stipulation in his contract that runs through 2010-11.

"I'd love to stay in Anaheim, but they have to make the decision so I'm not worried about it right now," Hiller said. "I mean, it doesn't really matter whether I stay in Anaheim or play somewhere else because, in the end, I still have to play well to earn a new contract."

Hiller sports a 6-5-1 record, 2.76 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. And let's not forget he also led the League with a .946 save percentage and ranked third with a 2.23 GAA in 13 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

"I was playing well (in the playoffs) and once you're on that roll, it's easy to play because you have that good feeling knowing you can go out there every game," Hiller said. "This year, we've struggled a bit and maybe I just haven't had that confidence to go out there every night. I just look at it as I want to give our team a chance to win."

Carlyle was asked if the goalie situation will ultimately become a distraction.
"I'd love to stay in Anaheim, but they have to make the decision so I'm not worried about it right now. I mean, it doesn't really matter whether I stay in Anaheim or play somewhere else because, in the end, I still have to play well to earn a new contract." -- Jonas Hiller
"Well, I can't keep it (from being a distraction) because you guys (smiling at the media) are going to keep it going," he said. "That's the news and what it's about. To me, I just put that all aside because my focus is on playing the game and not the games that happen outside of it.

"Now if players make statements that they'd rather do this or do that, then that's something out of our control," he said. "From a standpoint as a coach, I want to put the guy that we feel is going to give us the best chance for success. We're here to win hockey games, this isn't a developmental league."

Carlyle did admit Giguere would likely see some action for the first time since Oct. 24 -- a 5-0 loss to the Blue Jackets -- with back-to-back road matches looming in Columbus and Detroit on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

"This is just his second day back from practicing following his injury and he knows that he'll get an opportunity," Carlyle said. "When you're in a situation that we're in going out on the road, you know there are back-to-backs coming."

The feeling in the dressing room is players will support whichever goalie is in net.

"I think it's awesome (neither wants to be the backup)," Ducks forward Corey Perry said. "When you have two guys fighting for a spot, you know they're going to be at their best and that's what we're hoping for. They've both showed they can play and lead our team. Hillsy did it last year in the playoffs and Jiggy has done it in the past so we know he's capable. To us, it doesn't matter who's in net; we know they'll give us a chance to win every night."

Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com



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Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season