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Comments After Trade with Toronto

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
Comments via media conference calls following the trade with Toronto that brought goalie Vesa Toskala and winger Jason Blake to the Ducks in exchange for goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere:

Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray
Obviously, I want to thank Jiggy on behalf of the organization. He single-handedly took a team to Stanley Cup Final in ’03, won a Cup in ’07. He’s been a leader on and off the ice in the community and wonderful player and person in our organization for a number of years. We wish him nothing but the best

As for the deal, Jonas deserves to be a No. 1 goalie and we got him signed yesterday. Jiggy deserves an opportunity and this way they both get an opportunity to be a No. 1. 

We free up 4 million in our cap for next year, which is good. It’s a good start for all of us and Vesa will get a chance to see if he can get something going. Jason Blake, his time in Toronto wasn’t great, but he’s a very good hockey player and getting out of Toronto is maybe a good thing for him right now.

On what led to the trade,
I had talked with [Toronto Senior V.P of Hockey Operations] Dave Nonis and Burkie [Toronto GM Brian Burke] earlier in the year about this. They didn’t feel at that point it was the right time. All of a sudden Jonas Hiller was signed and they had a much bigger deal going somewhere else and they wanted to tie everything together. All along, I thought this was a good fit for Toronto, even though it’s not my job to worry about that. I think Jiggy is a perfect guy to be with the Monster [goalie Jonas Gustavsson] and [Toronto goalie coach] Frankie Allaire. I think it’s a good fit for them and it’s good timing for us. It came together all in the last 24 hours.

I wasn’t sure of anything until about 12:30 last night. Then I thought this might happen this morning. I talked to my hockey people and they were all a go. We feel we’re a better team today than we were yesterday. That’s nothing against Jiggy. We can only play one goalie and we have that goalie. We upgraded at forward and we feel we’re better today. It opens up some space for next year. I can’t tell you how much better I feel about having more room next year

On Blake,
He’s a hard worker and he can shoot. He has scored lots of goals in the past and he’s a very good penalty killer. He adds some speed to our lineup, something our staff and I were trying to address.

On whether the trade frees up money to re-sign Bobby Ryan,
It frees up money, but I didn’t think we were in trouble signing Bobby anyway. Money has been put away to do that. You don’t think there are going to be offer sheets, but we were prepared for that. We’re in good shape when it comes to Bobby.

On whether it leaves room for other deals this year,
It hurts the cap a bit this year, but I still have some room under the cap this year.

On reassigning Dan Sexton,
It’s a tough one. We have a few too many forwards. Dan Sexton will be back and I told him so. He’s going to be in the minors at this point, but he will return.

On the health of Joffrey Lupul,

There is definitely come concern with Joffrey, though things have improved with him dramatically the past few days once we got the blood disease in order. He’s improving very quickly now. Who knows, we may be able to see all of our top forwards this year, which would be nice.

On when he knew Hiller would be the team’s No. 1 goalie,
Last year during the playoffs we stated to get the feeling that Jonas was pretty good. Some people would say we had two good goaltenders. I think Randy did a heck of a job this year in being fair to both goaltenders and playing them. Jonas won the job this year. Once that happened, we had to get him signed because he was unrestricted. Neither one of those two is going to be happy being a backup. They’re both competitors and they’re both No. 1s. I think it was going to be strenuous on Jiggy for awhile. He deserves to play and he’s getting a fresh opportunity, which he deserves. It kind of works out for both of them right now.

On Blake’s contract,

He earned that contract. Just like Jiggy earned his contract. What happens is when people get big contracts, especially in certain markets, and things don’t go right off the bat, there is pressure all the time. They have to be aware there is going to be pressure from getting the contact. Jason earned his contract. He’s a good hockey player. It just didn’t work in Toronto.

On when Toskala and Blake will join the team,

Toskala has to get through immigration. He played in San Jose before, so it won’t be too much of an issue. We’ll get to work on that tomorrow morning. Jason is flying down to Florida tonight, so I expect he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.

Jason Blake
I’m definitely very excited. It’s going to be a new opportunity and a new challenge. It’s a great opportunity to go to a team that has so many great players. I’m really excited. Obviously, anytime you get traded, your life kind of goes into a whirlwind a little bit. I didn’t expect this, but I’m very excited. I’m just glad I get to play tomorrow night right off the bat.

This season in Toronto has been very disappointing. As players and as an organization your whole goal is to win the Stanley Cup. But in order to win it, you’ve got make the playoffs. So in that respect, it’s been a disappointing year. We’ve got great players in the room and we haven’t found a way to play as a team game in and game out. Now that this trade has been made, I’m very excited. It’s a great opportunity to move forward.

I don’t know anyone on the Ducks team yet, but they have a lot of great players and great leadership and they won a Stanley Cup not too long ago. It’s a winning organization and I hope to find a way to fit in.

I get into Florida tonight and I’ll be ready to play tomorrow.

On being diagnosed with leukemia in October of 2007,
It’s basically forgotten about now. I take a pill as someone would take a vitamin every day. I don’t think twice about it. It’s just an everyday thing. I’m very fortunate to have the medication I take for what I have. At the end of the day, I never think about it and it doesn’t affect me one bit.

I’m going in there with an open mind, just trying to fit in. I think it’s that way whenever a team wants to add a piece to the puzzle. I just hope to fit in and work hard every game and every shift and hope to contribute.

It’s a great team and they’ve got phenomenal players, one of the best to ever play the game in Scott Niedermayer. As of yesterday I was on a team that was not in the playoff chase. And to go to a team that’s only a few points out, hopefully we can put together quite a few wins.

For me to be successful, I don’t have to be so much an agitator but go into those dirty areas, whether it’s in front of the net or in the corner, try to make the other team frustrated. My biggest thing is trying to be consistent every night. I’m not the biggest guy, but my strength is my speed and trying to create havoc out there, going to the net hard and trying to contribute offensively. That’s what I try and do every night.

I’m very excited. I know I’ve used that term a lot. I love Southern California and I’ve spent a lot of time out there. It’s a great place. I hear a lot of great things about Anaheim, especially with the GM and the coach there. It’s going to be great. Like I said, obviously the main thing right now is getting out to Florida and trying to fit in. That’s one of the hardest things, finding the right fit. Hopefully I can fit in and contribute and get back to where I’d like to be, providing offense.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere
The Ducks organization and the fans were always very supportive through good and bad times. They were always very supportive when my first son was born and he had complications. People were always behind me. It’s a great fan base in Anaheim and it was always a lot of fun to play there. I would just like to thank everybody, all the fans who have supported me over the years.

I guess last season it occurred to me when we were in the playoffs. You can tell by watching Jonas that he’s a No. 1 goalie in this league. You could tell at some point that something needed to happen. I kind of had a feeling they were going to lean the other way, but I never gave up. It’s been a tough go there the last few months and Jonas has been playing well.

Obviously I would have liked to stay in Anaheim. When I re-signed here three years ago, the situation was a little different. Saying that, even before they re-signed Jonas, I could see they were leaning towards him. I’m 32 years old and I feel like there is still some hockey left in me. I wanted to try and get a chance to be a No. 1 goalie somewhere. I felt like in Anaheim it wasn’t going to happen. I feel like now I can get that chance again.

Ducks forward Todd Marchant (courtesy of the Orange County Register)
Jiggy was a warrior for us in every sense of the word. He was a great teammate and obviously a great goaltender and we won a Stanley Cup with him. Anytime a guy like that gets traded from your team, it’s never easy.

I spent five years with the guy. He is the ultimate professional. He has gone through some tough times here with a lot of different things both on and off the ice. He’s always seemed to come to the rink with a smile on his face and worked hard every day.

It’s tough to see him go. As we know in this sport, these things don’t come easy. We wish him the best obviously. For him it’s a good situation.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle
Giguere did an unbelievable job for this organization. He represented it first class both on and off the ice. He worked extremely hard. If there was a model that the organization would like to create, we’d like every player to have the same impact Giguere has had on this organization.

An ultimate professional and [he] held his head high when things didn’t go the way he would have liked or we would have liked. He still kept his class about him. He didn’t drag anybody down. He worked extremely hard to forge his way through.

It’s a great situation that’s been presented to him. I know it’s difficult for him and his family to move. Anybody that’s been involved in this sports business that does get traded and you’ve been in one place a long time, it’s difficult.

But in reality, he’s going to get an opportunity be a No. 1 goalie in Toronto. At this point, his position wasn’t that here and that’s what he wanted.”

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