Sunday, May 16, 2010
Jean-Sebastien Giguere was born on this date in 1977 in Montreal, Quebec. He played junior hockey in the QMJHL with the Verdun College Francais during the 1993-94 season. When the club ceased operations, he was claimed by the expansion Halifax Mooseheads, where he would play for three seasons, from 1994-95 to 1996-97. While playing for Halifax, Giguere was drafted by the Hartford Whalers 13th overall in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, the first goaltender chosen that year.
He made his NHL debut at the end of the 1996-97 season, seeing action in eight games with the Whalers and posting a 1-4 record.
The Whalers would trade Giguere to the Calgary Flames prior to the start of the next season and he would spend the entire season with Calgary's top minor league affiliate, the Saint John Flames of the American Hockey League.
The following season Giguere would split time between Saint John and Calgary, playing 39 games in the AHL and 15 in the NHL. 1999-00 was also spent between Saint John and Calgary, with 41 games in the minors and 7 in Calgary.
He was subsequently traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in time for the 2000-01 season and was assigned to the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the AHL before being recalled by Anaheim, where he would play in 35 games.
He would earn not only a full time NHL assignment in 2001-02, but the Mighty Ducks starting job as well, seeing action in 53 games and posting a 2.13 goals against average.
The 2002-03 season would be the one to put Giguere on the map. In 65 games, Giguere would finish with a 34-22-6 record and 8 shutouts, his first winning record in the NHL. Making his NHL playoff debut, Giguere was in the net for the seventh seeded Mighty Ducks as they outlasted the defending champion Detroit Red Wings in triple overtime 2-1. His 63 saves broke the record for Most Saves in a Playoff Debut.
The Mighty Ducks proceeded to eliminate the Red Wings in four straight games in a shocking upset as Giguere held the mighty Red Wings to 6 total goals in the 4 games.
Their next opponents were the number one seeded Dallas Stars. The Mighty Ducks stole the first two games in Dallas, both in overtime, proving their elimination of Detroit was no fluke. Dallas won Game 3, but Giguere stole the show in Game 4, 1-0 shutout to put Anaheim up 3 games to 1. Dallas won at home in Game 5 but were eliminated in the following game, advancing the Mighty Ducks to the conference finals against the equally surprising Minnesota Wild.
The Wild, emotionally and physically spent after back-to-back series in which they came back from 3-1 deficits to upset first Colorado and then Vancouver, could generate little against an now rolling and on-form Giguere. In one of the greatest playoff series performances in NHL history, Giguere shutout Minnesota for three consecutive games by scores of 1-0, 2-0 and 4-0. Minnesota finally broke through with a goal in Game 4, but lost the series when Anaheim put them away 2-1 for a series sweep and a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils.
After falling behind the East's number two seed by identical 3-0 scores, the Mighty Ducks fought back at home with a 3-2 overtime win and Giguere's fifth shutout of the 2003 playoffs 1-0 in overtime. The Devils won at home in Game 5 and Anaheim returned the favor in Game 6 to force a deciding seventh game back in New Jersey, where the Devils won the cup by yet another 3-0 shutout. After the conclusion of the series, Giguere became only the fifth player to be named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy while playing for the losing side in the finals, and the first since 1987.
Giguere struggled mightily the following season, with a 17-31-6 record but rebounded in 2005-06 after play resumed following the season lost to the lockout in 2004-05 by going 30-15-11.
The team was renamed the Anaheim Ducks for 2006-07 and Giguere began to quickly rack up wins, as he did not lose a single game in regulation in October. He would finish the season with a career high 36 wins, 10 losses and 8 overtime losses. In the playoffs, Giguere helped defeat Minnesota and then quickly dispatch the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 before outlasting the Detroit Red Wings 4 games to 2. Now in the finals, the Ducks won two at home against the Ottawa Senators and split a pair in Ottawa. With Game 5 back in Anaheim, Giguere and the Ducks won in front of their home fans with an easy 6-2 win to capture the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
After two more seasons with the Ducks, Giguere was traded in January of 2010 to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he recorded back-to-back shutouts in his first two games as a Maple Leaf, the first goalie in franchise history to ever do so.
Today's featured jersey is a Bauer 1997-98 Saint John Flames Jean-Sebastien Giguere jersey. The Flames jerseys were borrowed entirely from their parent club with the addition of the Saint John club logos on the shoulders and the Dodge sponsorship patch on the chest, aside from the fact they were made by Bauer rather than CCM.
The Saint John Flames were founded in 1993 when the Utica Devils relocated and played in New Brunswick until 2003 before moving to Omaha, Nebraska and then the Quad Cities of Iowa and currently Abbotsford, British Columbia, completing their cross-continent trek.
The Flames made the finals in 1998 and won the Calder Cup in 2001. Several notable NHLers played for Saint John, highlighted by Martin St. Louis and Giguere.
Our first video is a tribute to Giguere's from his remarkable Conn Smythe winning playoff run in 2003 to his winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.
Following the 2007 Stanley Cup victory, Giguere makes an appearance on the "Best Damn Sports Show Period."
You knew someone had to do it, "Gettin' Jiggy with Giguere".