Ducks Radio Analyst
NEWARK, N.J. – Clarifying comments he had made a couple of days earlier, Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere on Wednesday reiterated that his foremost desire is to remain in Anaheim.
“I want to be part of this team,” Giguere said after the club’s morning skate in preparation for tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.
“I want to be the No. 1 (goaltender) in Anaheim,” Giguere said. “I love playing here. I want to be here.”
Following Monday’s practice in Anaheim, Giguere had told the Los Angeles Daily News that he would sooner retire than accept being a backup goalie.
“It didn’t come out exactly the way I wanted,” Giguere said Wednesday. “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.”
Giguere, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs and backstopped the Ducks to the 2007 Stanley Cup championship, lost his starting job to Jonas Hiller
last season. Hampered by a groin injury that shelved him for the past six games, Giguere has not regained the No. 1 position.
“I have been playing poorly since halfway through last year,” Giguere said. “For me to play regularly, I have to play like a No. 1 goalie. Hillsy has done that. It’s going to be up to me to grab my chance when I get it.”
Hiller is expected to start against the Devils, so Giguere’s next action figures to come Friday or Saturday, when the Ducks play back-to-back games in Columbus and Detroit.
“Giguere is going to get his opportunity,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “He knows he’ll get his opportunity. You know there are back-to-backs coming. We’ve always said we’re going to go with the guy who gives us the best chance to win.”
Giguere has looked “fine” in practice, according to Carlyle.
“He’s worked extra hard,” Carlyle said. “The one thing you always know about Jiggy is he’s going to do extra work. We’ve always made the statement that we want people competing for positions. We think it’s healthy.”
With Giguere owed $13 million this season and next, and with a no-trade clause in his contract, and Hiller standing to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, the situation is complex.
“Something has to happen, I’m guessing,” Giguere said. “I want to be part of this team. My family and I are happy in Southern California. I don’t want to force the issue.”
On another note, Giguere found it somewhat curious that the Devils chose tonight to honor their 2003 Stanley Cup championship team, the one that beat the Ducks in seven games in the Finals. Later this season, New Jersey will honor its 1995 and 2000 title clubs, with Detroit and Dallas, the teams the Devils beat on those occasions, in town.
“It’s obviously not a coincidence,” Giguere said. “It’s a long time ago, but it still stinks. It still hurts.”
Giguere is the only remaining Duck from the 2003 team. Ducks defenseman and captain Scott Niedermayer played for New Jersey in 2003.
“I guess it makes some sense, for the fans here to remember it,” Niedermayer said.