|"It's a great chance for our team to step forward," Giguere said. "We have seven games at home coming up and these are going to be huge for our team. We need to make a stand here. If we can put some wins together here, then we’ll be able to put ourselves in the position that we can fight for a playoff spot." |
As trying as the last few weeks have been for the Anaheim Ducks, perhaps no one has endured more frustration than goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
The 32-year-old netminder was unable to suit up for two weeks while recovering from a groin strain that he re-aggravated in a 6-4 loss at Honda Center on October 24. During that rehab time, Giguere was quoted as saying he would rather retire than be a backup goaltender, comments he clarified later
Giguere finally made it back between the pipes against those same Blue Jackets last Friday night in Columbus, and his solid effort was slightly blurred when the Jackets prevailed in a shootout. That standings point was the only one the Ducks would get on that four-game road trip, which ended with Giguere taking a 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh that was Anaheim's fourth straigth defeat. Giguere, who now says he feels 100 percent health-wise, knows that for the team to turn things around, it starts in his area of the ice.
"There is no doubt in my mind, all together, if this team wants to move forward, goaltending is going to have to be better," said Giguere, referring to his play and that of the goalie he competes for time with, Jonas Hiller
. "We have to try to give the team a better chance to win every night and we know that as a goalie tandem. We’re aware of it and want to be better."
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle also knows that both of his goalies can be better, and it showed during that stretch away from home. "They were just like our team," he said. "We played some good games and they made some big stops. But then on the other hand, there were some goals that went in that they liked to have back. Not any different than our team. Our team play was up and down. We played some stretches where we were okay in the hockey game and then we’d find a way to let a team back into it."
Giguere saw a lack of confidence, rather than a lack of effort, as the biggest concern during that tough stretch. "We are all working hard, there is no doubt about it," he said. "But we have to believe that the other guy beside you is going to do his job. You have to play with confidence. That is how you are going to win. At home, especially, it’s important to show that confidence and to come out, not be tentative and really establish our gameplan that our coaches are going to put forward."
|"Right now, there are no more excuses. We are 20 games into the season. If you don’t know the system, you have to go an ask the coach. If you have any questions about anything, you have to go ask Scotty, go ask the coaches. Everybody knows each other. Right now, we have to move forward." |
The Ducks have played the first quarter of the season with a few new faces, including offseason acquisitions Saku Koivu
, Joffrey Lupul, Evgeny Artyukhin, Nick Boynton and Steve Eminger. But as the Ducks hit the quarter-pole of this campaign, that excuse is becoming less and less viable.
"It’s take awhile before the new guys get to learn the system and all that," Giguere said, "but right now, there are no more excuses. We are 20 games into the season. If you don’t know the system, you have to go an ask the coach. If you have any questions about anything, you have to go ask Scotty, go ask the coaches. Everybody knows each other. We’ve been on the road for awhile, we’ve had a team dinners and have had a chance to know what each other is all about. Right now, we have to move forward."
Giguere continues to battle for playing time with Hiller, and there is no word yet on who will be in net when the Ducks get back to action tomorrow night at Honda Center against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Hiller says that competition between the two is healthy for everyone.
"It is a competition, even though we try to help each other out," Hiller said. "We’re in the same boat. We’re both try to get better and help the team. Especially in the situation right now, we’re almost happy that we have two guys that can share that pressure. It’s not on just mine or his shoulders. We both try to push each other and play better than the other guy, but it’s on friendly basis."
"We’re not that far off. One game, one win and then your whole perspective can change and you move forward with confidence. Our focus should really be on trying to get that win tomorrow. It’s a big game for us." - J.S. Giguere
Giguere, for one, sees this upcoming seven-game homestand as a great opportunity for the team to make a surge. "It's a great chance for our team to step forward," he said. "We have seven games at home coming up and these are going to be huge for our team. We need to make a stand here. We can reset ourselves back. If we can put some wins together here, then we’ll be able to put ourselves in the position that we can fight for a playoff spot."
But for the Ducks to fight for that position, it all starts with the very next challenge, Thursday night in their barn. "Just one game, it takes one game," Giguere said. "We’re not that far off. One game, one win and then your whole perspective can change and you move forward with confidence. Our focus should really be on trying to get that win tomorrow. It’s a big game for us."Injury Notes
Koivu, who has missed the last four games with a strained groin, participated in most of the Ducks' practice Wednesday at Honda Center. Carlyle said he is unsure his veteran center will be ready to go tomorrow night.
"I would say he was about the same. I don’t think he’s regressed, so that is a positive for us," Carlyle said. "Usually when a player stays out for the full length of practice, it’s encouraging. He didn’t participate in all the practice, but did skate in most of it."
Fellow center Ryan Carter is a longer way off, as he continues to recover from a bruised foot. "He’s got swelling in the joint and it’s causing a lot of pain," Carlyle said. "He cannot bear weight without pain. It’s the position of where he got hit versus anything."