And now, heeeeeeere’s Jiggy ...
Late tonight, Mighty Duck goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere will appear on “The Tonight Show,” squeezed somewhere between Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi and Colin Quinn.
One can already see Jay Leno rubbing his enormous chin, leaning in, touching Giguere’s arm and asking, “So Jiggy -- I can call you Jiggy, right? -- what’s it like to have a puck hit you at 100 mph?”
“That’s a great opportunity for Jiggy,” Duck center Steve Rucchin said. “Hopefully he won’t let his French get the better of him.”
Ah, fame, if it would only last forever.
This is how it has been for the Ducks while they await an opponent for the Stanley Cup finals. If it’s not Giguere popping by on Leno, then it’s Marc Chouinard being paraded on the Rose Bowl stage Saturday before thousands at KIIS-FM’s “Wango Tango” concert.
And for truly touching moments be sure to tune in for ABC’s “Perfect Strangers” remake, using Stanislav Chistov and Jason Krog
And for the truly young and the restless, don’t miss any of the half-dozen segments on Keith Carney’s triplets. Yeah, his wife, Amy, gave birth, but Keith lives in the house too.
“It’s been absolutely crazy,” said Alex Gilchrist, who handles media requests as the Ducks’ communications and team services manager. “We’ve had to start cutting off requests. There are just too many.”
Previous Duck seasons might have been made fodder for the “Jerry Springer Show.” Dysfunctional Sports Franchises: How Do They Stay in Business? Now they not only reached the Stanley Cup finals, which begin Tuesday, but have vaulted into pop culture.
While the Ducks have had their noses to the grindstone at practice each day, some have had their faces in makeup for TV spots as well.
This stems partly from having a little too much time on their hands. The Ducks wrapped up the Western Conference championship last Friday and are waiting for New Jersey and Ottawa to hash things out in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals tonight.
Duck Coach Mike Babcock acknowledged as much Thursday in his daily session with the media.
“Let’s be honest here, you guys don’t have any questions and I don’t have any answers,” Babcock said, laughing. “We’re just filling time here.”
Babcock fills time, his players fill time slots.
Giguere, team captain Paul Kariya and Mike Leclerc made an appearance on the late-night show “Jimmy Kimmel Live” after the Ducks eliminated Detroit in the first round.
This week, Leno’s people came calling. Giguere becomes the second NHL player to appear on “The Tonight Show.” Detroit’s Brendan Shanahan was a guest in 1997, after the Red Wings won the Cup.
“This is great for the organization,” Giguere said. “We haven’t had a lot of people interested in us the last few years. It’s kind of exciting for the team.
“I’m kind of nervous though. I’m not very good in front of a crowd. They’re going expect me to be funny and I don’t know how to be funny.”
Giguere was more comfortable at Wango Tango, where all he and Chouinard had to do was come up on stage and wave. Well, Chouinard also got to pose in a picture with Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Both also did promotional sound bites for KIIS disc jockey Rick Dees. This might cause Giguere a little problem, as he has been almost a weekly guest on KROQ’s Kevin and Bean morning show, the sworn broadcast enemies of Dees.
All these perks have been possible because the Ducks keep finishing off opponents quickly. They swept Minnesota in the Western Conference finals, polishing off Game 4 on May 16, so Chouinard and Giguere could be whisked off by limo to the concert the next day.
“When they first asked us, we said no because we thought we’d be back in Minnesota for Game 5,” Chouinard said. “We got the series done and got to go to the show. They showed us around back stage and we got to meet some of the bands. It was very entertaining.”
Ah, but for true entertainment, be sure to tune in when ABC interviews Chistov, a 20-year-old from Chelyabinsk, Russia, and Krog, 27 from Fernie, Canada. The segment is scheduled to be a let’s-do-lunch moment, them talking about their friendship over a meal.
Hardly miniseries material for Sweeps month, but it does have potential.
“When I got called up to the Ducks, we were both staying at the hotel,” Krog said. “Just about everyone else was married or living with a girlfriend. So, we became friends.”
Then, smiling, Krog said: “I don’t think Cheesy knows who’s going to be running this show, but it’s going to be me.”
Not a problem.
“Jason is going to do all the talking,” said Chistov, who is shy. “I’m just going to sit there.”
There has been so much interest in Carney’s triplet sons that the Ducks have cut off media requests.
The crush has reached the point that Giguere was interviewed by ESPN, CBS, Time Magazine, the Hockey News and NBC all in one hour Wednesday.
All this comes to an end -- at least for the time being -- Sunday, when the Ducks travel to either Ottawa or New Jersey.
Whether the Ducks remain popular guests will come down to whether they can win four more games and take home a cup. To that end, some have been watching TV instead of appearing on it.
“I have been watching New Jersey and Ottawa,” Babcock said. “What else would I be doing with my off nights?”
The Mighty Ducks signed center Pierre Parenteau on a three-year entry-level contract.
Parenteau, 20, had 33 goals and 103 points in 59 games for Chicoutimi and Sherbrooke in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
*--* DUCKS VS. OTTAWA/NEW JERSEY Best-of-seven series All games begin at 5 p.m. PDT GAME 1 Tuesday -- at East winner, ESPN GAME 2 Thursday -- at East winner, ESPN GAME 3 May 31 -- at the Pond, Ch. 7 GAME 4 June 2 -- at the Pond, Ch. 7 GAME 5 June 5 -- at East winner, Ch. 7* GAME 6 June 7 -- at the Pond, Ch. 7* GAME 7 June 9 -- at East winner, Ch. 7* * if necessary