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Anaheim Ducks arrive in Canada, hope to leave with Stanley Cup

The Canadian Press
By:
The Hockey News
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Anaheim Ducks arrive in Canada, hope to leave with Stanley Cup

The Canadian Press
By:

The only thing they want to do in Ottawa is win hockey games.

The Ducks arrived in the Canadian capital on Thursday evening with a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup final and promptly got on a bus that took them across the Champlain Bridge to their luxury hotel in nearby Gatineau.

Coach Randy Carlyle wants his team to have some peace and quiet before playing Game 3 at Scotiabank Place on Saturday night.

"We can sacrifice our interaction with the public (to focus) on the task at hand," he said. "It's not too many times you get an opportunity to play in the Stanley Cup final.

"We think that this allows us to prepare our group totally 100 per cent on hockey."

Very few NHL teams stay on the other side of the river during the regular season, but it's pretty common during the playoffs.

The New Jersey Devils spent time at this resort in the spring of 2003, when they beat the Senators in the Eastern Conference final on the way to winning the Stanley Cup.

Anaheim captain Scott Niedermayer was part of that New Jersey team but wasn't feeling any superstitious vibes during his return visit.

"I don't really have a decision of where I stay," said Niedermayer. "I get on the bus when the plane lands and it takes me to where my bed will be."

It's not that simple for everyone associated with the team.

Logistics are scrutinized as closely as the team's power play at this time of year. Carlyle said the Ducks had hoped to stay closer to Scotiabank Place on the outskirts of Ottawa, but the NHL had already secured the hotel the Ducks wanted to accommodate league officials and media.

After that, the Anaheim management team started looking at its options in Quebec.

"We could have went downtown Ottawa," explained Carlyle, "but knowing the intensity and the atmosphere that's created in Canadian cities with the culture of the game, we thought it was our best interest if we moved and got away from the downtown area."

With the Ducks up 2-0 in the series on Ottawa, the mood in the city is understandably shaky. Only three teams in NHL history have overcome that deficit to win the Stanley Cup and no one has done it since the 1971 Montreal Canadiens.

Anaheim shut down the high-powered Senators in the first two games and can leave Canada with the Stanley Cup if it can do it two more times.

Still, even with recent and past history on their side, the Ducks are taking nothing for granted.

"They're both one goal hockey games," Carlyle said of his team's 3-2 and 1-0 wins in the series. "There's no coach that's going to sit here and say he's comfortable.

"I guarantee you our group is not comfortable."

Anaheim can look to its own short history for a reason not to be.

The Ducks lost the first two games in New Jersey during the 2003 Stanley Cup final before rebounding with a pair of home wins to even the series. They eventually lost that final series in a seventh game.

Goaltender J.S. Giguere was of the players on that Ducks team and expects the current coaching staff to remind some of the players who weren't there about it.

He knows Ottawa isn't out of this series yet.

"They worked too hard all year, I'm sure, to just let it go," said Giguere, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2003. "We're going to have to match their intensity and their desperation to have a chance."

Staying a 20-minute drive away from the stadium - which they'll make with a police escort - should help.

Hotel staff waited anxiously in the lobby before the team's coach bus pulled into the driveway on Thursday night and will do all it can to make sure the Ducks aren't disturbed.

There's also a side benefit in staying on the other side of the river for a player like Giguere. It's the first time the Montreal native has been in Quebec in seven or eight months.

"It's kind of nice to stay here for me," said Giguere. "It feels like I'm home right now. It's not that far away, it's only about a couple of hours, so there'll be a lot of family members at the game.

"It's going to be a different experience and I'm happy that I can share that with some of my family, which have been my biggest fans my whole career."

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Anaheim Ducks arrive in Canada, hope to leave with Stanley Cup