Toronto goalie coach Al­laire on new­comer Giguere: ‘He’s a fighter, for sure.’

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

TORONTO (CP) — Jean-Se­bastien Giguere wants to be a good leader, hard worker and solid men­tor. More than any­thing, he just wants his old job back, say­ing he will use his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs to try “to re-es­tab­lish my­self as a No. 1 goalie in this league.”

It is a des­ig­na­tion he has strug­gled to main­tain through­out his ca­reer, de­spite own­ing a Conn Smythe Tro­phy and Stan­ley Cup ring. Giguere lost the job in Ana­heim, where he said he would rather re­tire than play as a backup, and has re­lo­cated across the con­ti­nent for an­other chance to prove him­self.

“He’s a fighter, for sure,” Leafs goal­tend­ing coach Fran­cois Al­laire said. “He’s had to fight for his job all the way down.”

Ac­quired in a flurry of ac­tiv­ity by Toronto gen­eral man­ager Brian Burke last Sun­day, Giguere made 30 saves in his de­but on Tues­day en route to a 3-0 shutout win over the New Jer­sey Devils. On Wed­nes­day, he was asked about the pres­sure of play­ing in a hockey-mad mar­ket, and the one strug­gle over which he had al­most no con­trol.

His first child, a son, Maxime Olivier, was born in the spring of 2007, just as the Ducks were pre­par­ing for the play­offs. Giguere and his wife learned their son had been born with a de­formed right eye, and were con­fronted with the pos­si­bil­ity his left eye was also dam­aged.

There was a se­ries of con­sul­ta­tions with ex­perts in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, some made with the help of team own­er­ship. Giguere missed the fi­nal three games of the reg­u­lar sea­son to be with his fam­ily.

“ There wasn’t much to say,” for­mer Ducks team­mate Fran­cois Beau­chemin said. “It’s a re­ally tough sit­u­a­tion and we never re­ally talked about that when it hap­pened. He would just tell us what was go­ing on with Max, and mak- ing sure he was OK. His life wasn’t in dan­ger, but it was tough.”

The med­i­cal ex­perts even­tu­ally told Giguere they ex­pected his son to have nor­mal sight in his left eye. And he re­turned to the team, where he had to be­gin the play­offs as a backup be­fore re­turn­ing to the helm and lead­ing the Ducks to a Stan­ley Cup ti­tle — the first for any team in Cal­i­for­nia.

Giguere signed a four-year con­tract with the Ducks that sum­mer, a deal that con­tained a no-trade clause he waived to en­able the move to Toronto. Jonas Hiller had be­come the starter in Ana­heim, and with his son’s health im­proved, Giguere was able to make a move.

“He needs to see a doc­tor maybe once ev­ery six or seven months,” Giguere said Wed­nes­day. “It’s no big deal. We can go through a sea­son without hav­ing to see a doc­tor, and we’re only a short flight from here to L.A.”

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