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Ducks to celebrate 10-year anniversary of Stanley Cup title

Ducks to celebrate 10-year anniversary of Stanley Cup title
A 2007 photo shows goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere warming up before a playoff game during the Ducks' Stanley Cup run. (Dave Sandford / Getty Images)

Jean-Sebastien Giguere doesn't have to open the safe deposit box — where he keeps his Stanley Cup ring — and slip it on his finger to remind him of that glorious spring.

His son, Maxime, is the figurative string around his finger.

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"My son always reminds me, 'It's been eight years since you won the Cup. It's been nine years since you won the Cup,' " Giguere said.

Maxime would know. He was born in April of 2007, when his goalie father and the Ducks were on their way to winning California's first Cup. The Gigueres have a photo of baby Maxime sitting in the venerable trophy.

"He's very proud that he has a picture right in the Cup," Giguere said. "He's so small. He fit right in there."

The same could be said of that 2007 team. Rarely did pieces of a hockey team fit so snugly in place as the Ducks, who will hold the 10-year anniversary before Sunday's game against the Washington Capitals at Honda Center.

A majority of that '07 team is expected to attend the 4:30 p.m. ceremony, from Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne to critical role players such as Samuel Pahlsson.

Also expected is former Ducks general manager Brian Burke, the builder of what some opine might be the best team to ever win the Cup. His acquisition of Pronger from the Edmonton Oilers was the final piece after Pronger gave the Ducks fits in the previous season's Western Conference final.

"The one thing that you learn about coaches — you have to have the horses," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. "You show [me] any championship team, they've got horses."

From the starting gate, the Ducks oozed confidence. They began the season 27-4-6, and at one point Carlyle said out loud what many of them were thinking.

"The message was to the players that, in my history in playing the game and my knowledge in playing the game, this might be the best team that they every get to play with," Carlyle said.

Carlyle, rehired in June nearly 10 years after he guided the '07 team, also said the strength of that club lied in its resiliency. The Ducks lost Game 3 of the conference final to the Detroit Red Wings, 5-0, then won the next three games to close out the series. Pronger served two one-game suspensions during the playoffs and the Ducks won both games.

The Ducks had a premier shutdown line of Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Dustin Penner comprised the second line. Under Burke's philosophy of pugnaciousness, the Ducks led the NHL in fighting.

"The easiest way I can explain it is, we could play any way you wanted, we could play any way we wanted," Pronger said.

Looking back, Pronger said the team had special makeup that's difficult to achieve in today's salary-cap era.

"They're hard to build," Pronger said. "As you've seen, as soon as you build them, they're being pulled apart pretty quick. For some to stand the test the time says a lot."

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Time wasn't very kind in the postscript to that Cup. Concussions forced top-line center Andy McDonald to retire in 2013. Pronger left the game following head and eye injuries.

But all are tied to that Cup-clinching moment on June 6, 2007.

Giguere had gone through a personal ordeal when Maxime needed surgery to correct a deformed right eye upon his birth. Giguere missed the beginning of the playoffs in one of the toughest times of his life that's eased each time he coaches Maxime.

"He's a healthy 10-year-old boy," Giguere said. "He's a goalie."

DUCKS VS. WASHINGTON

When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

On the air: TV: Prime; Radio: 830

Update: Ducks center Antoine Vermette will return from a 10-game suspension for abuse of an official. The Ducks went 5-5 in his absence after Friday's loss but returned goalie John Gibson from injury. Washington has won six straight games at Honda Center dating to the Ducks' last home win in 2002.

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