Defenseman Niclas Havelid made his professional hockey debut as an 18-year-old playing for AIK Solna in Sweden. One of his teammates on AIK Solna was right wing Patric Kjellberg, who scored 20 goals and 33 points in 40 games in 1991-92.
With the Mighty Ducks advancing to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in franchise history, Havelid can’t help but think about Kjellberg, who left the Ducks after the second round of the playoffs to return to Sweden because of family reasons.
Kjellberg, 33, had appeared in the first 10 postseason games for the Ducks and was used primarily as a penalty killer. According to the Ducks, Kjellberg is not expected to return before the end of the playoffs.
“I’ve talked with Patric and he’s doing good,” Havelid said. “I feel sorry for him. This is something that you fight for your whole life, but this was his call and that’s the way it is sometimes.”
Even in Sweden, the Ducks are a big story, which has made it easy for Kjellberg to keep up with the team’s playoff success.
“It’s been tough [for Kjellberg],” Havelid said. “I just hope to be able to bring the Cup home to him.”
With the Eastern Conference finals going at least six games, the Ducks know that they’ll have a 10-day break before they start the Stanley Cup finals. That’s one reason Coach Mike Babcock gave his team the day off Tuesday.
But that didn’t stop many of the Duck players from working out on their own.
“Just to stay sharp,” said Havelid, who rode a stationary bike for 30 minutes and then did a complete upper- and lower-body weight workout. “But I really didn’t do much. I just did my normal routine.”
Long breaks in between series are nothing new for the Ducks.
After sweeping Detroit, the Ducks had a seven-day break before facing Dallas, which had to play a six-game series against Edmonton. After eliminating the Stars in six games, the Ducks had a four-day break before playing Minnesota in the Western Conference finals.
The Ducks’ reward for sweeping the Wild? They won’t play Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals until Tuesday, having completed their sweep of Minnesota on May 16.
Stanley Cup finals tickets, which start at $95 with a four-ticket limit, will go on sale today at 10 a.m. at the Arrowhead Pond and all Southern California Ticketmaster outlets.
The Ducks are encouraging fans to purchase seats online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at (714) 703-2545 or (213) 480-3232.
Randomly numbered wristbands will be handed out at 8 a.m. at the Pond. Fans arriving after 9:30 a.m. or after all the wristbands have been distributed will be placed in a first-come, first-serve line.