Robidas Finds Himself on the Other Side of Another Ducks-Stars Playoff Clash
/ Anaheim Ducks
"It’s not about me versus my old team. It’s the Ducks versus the Stars. I want to win a Stanley Cup, and they’re in the way."
By Adam Brady
Stephane Robidas has seen his share of Ducks-Stars playoff battles, but until now, they’ve come from the other side.
The 37-year-old defenseman was in Dallas for the previous two playoff series between the two combatants, and played an impact role in each of them. His Stars fell to the Ducks in six games in the first round in 2003, a series highlighted by a grueling five-overtime Game 1 in which the Ducks prevailed on a Petr Sykora goal. In 2008, Robidas and the Stars got their revenge, knocking off the Ducks (who were defending Cup champions) in six games.
This season, after missing several months with a fractured leg, Robidas was traded to the Ducks (March 4) for a conditional fourth-round pick and looked strong in the final 14 games of the regular season. He now finds himself in a different sweater for another playoff rematch between Anaheim and Dallas, which face off in Game 1 on Wednesday night at Honda Center.
After practice today in Anaheim, Robidas talked about facing his old team.
Has Bruce asked for your input on the Stars? He’s asked me a few questions about what I know about them. It’s part of the game. You can look at video and see what they’re trying to do and how they play. I know how they play, and they’re based on speed. We won’t be surprised by that. There are little things that I know though. In the end, it’s what you do on the ice. You can know everything about the other team and draw up a gameplan, but in the end, you have to go out there and compete. The thing for us is to go out there and play like we can, play our type of hockey. Since the Vancouver game [last Monday], we’ve played like the Ducks are used to playing. That’s why we’ve been successful the last four or five games.
The Stars were on the bubble the last few weeks. Are you surprised they got into the playoffs? Honestly, I wasn’t surprised. They’re always very close, and the way Phoenix ended their year, you could tell they were kind of struggling, especially with [goalie] Mike Smith being out and everything. But Dallas is a good team. They’re an eight seed, but they’re still a really good and really dangerous team.
When you were traded here, there was the possibility these two teams could face each other in the playoffs. Did you want that to happen? It’s funny you say that, because at the time of the trade, Anaheim was first and Dallas was eighth, and the GM and the coaches [in Dallas] said, “We might face you in the first round.” They knew about it and I knew about it. It wasn’t a surprise. But along the way, it was like, maybe, maybe not, maybe, maybe not. Now that it’s set, it’s who we play. It is what it is. I’ve just got to play my game. It’s not about me versus my old team. It’s the Ducks versus the Stars. I want to win a Stanley Cup, and they’re in the way.
Were you surprised Dallas was willing to trade you to a possible playoff opponent? The way I understood it, they really did me a favor. I was coming back from injury, and they didn’t know if they were going to make the playoffs. They basically said, We don’t know. We might get in, we might not. We’re giving you a chance to play for a Stanley Cup contender, and you’re going to have a chance to play some games at the end of the [regular season] for a team that knows they’re in the playoffs. You can ease into it, and if you have a setback, you can play a game here or there and take a rest. For my career, they thought it would be a good move for me. So, I’m very thankful. There are no hard feelings between me and the Stars. They treated me very well, and everything was first-class. My time there was awesome, good teammates and good friends. But now it’s playoff hockey, I’m a Duck and I want to beat the Stars.
What do you remember about previous Ducks-Stars series? They’ve always been big, physical battles. Obviously I came up short in 2003 when Giguere won the MVP. We lost that first game in five overtimes and Sykora scored that big goal. Obviously in 2008, we got them. It’s never been easy. They’ve always been good games and tight games, and I expect the same this time.