Everyone wants to get Jiggy
REED SAXON, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
By MARCIA C. SMITH
The Orange County Register
The telephone at Stephane Giguere's home in Blainville, Quebec, keeps ringing.
"People from work or school or people I run into in the drugstore or everywhere ask me, 'Did you see your brother last night?' and I smile," said Giguere, 35, the oldest brother of Mighty Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
"Before now, we could just read about the East Coast hockey players. Nothing about Sebast. Now it's totally different. He's all over the place."
Hockey needed a Jean-Sebastien Giguere to come along and clip jumper cables to the audience.
Giguere is new. His ascension to the Stanley Cup Finals was unexpected, his performance phenomenal, his personality fresh, his character strong.
Isn't it great when good things happen to nice people? Or when the guy who makes less than 13 other Ducks steals the spotlight? Or when the attention doesn't go to the scorer but the savior?
How many times in Los Angeles sports is a superstar humble enough to oblige everyone from the local weekly to Jay Leno's publicist? How many times does the same player have the playoff-high statistics and the league-high in class.
Not often. Then comes Giguere, 26, playing in his first playoffs and sporting a brilliant 1.22 goals-against average and .960 save percentage.
Fortunately we're getting to know that player behind the refrigerator box uniform and the mask bearing a cartoonishly sinister duck with a cape.
We learn details about how Giguere calls his mother, Gisele, every day; how she saves all his newspaper articles in a scrapbook; and how this success is a long way from the days the family had to pay for hockey training and goalie equipment by delivering the morning paper and second-mortgaging the home.
"He's an interesting guy," said Stephane, a Blainville police officer. "People didn't really get to know too much about him before. Now everyone wants to know more details."
Last Wednesday Giguere's 15 minutes stretched into hours. He held court in the dressing room with two dozen local and national media for an hour until he was ushered away by Ducks media relations staff.
Giguere, dressed casually in a polo shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops repaired with masking tape, headed to a makeshift television studio in Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim's star dressing rooms.
ABC's World News Tonight had him first. Next he belonged on the telephone with The Hockey News, which wanted him for its cover for the second time in four weeks. TSN and ESPN News followed.
"Do you want to do any swimsuit modeling with your fiancée to Sports Illustrated?" an NHL media person offered Giguere, who politely declined.
Giguere snuck two bites of a Granny Smith and sucked down a bottled water while a Time magazine reporter asked him about his Labrador puppy, Henry, and his June 21 wedding to Kristen, whom he has dated since his junior days with the Halifax Mooseheads.
"Can Giguere do Larry King?" a woman on a cell phone inquired from the hallway. "Maybe?"
Then Giguere and Marc Chouinard, his best friend on the team, headed for the Ducks' conference room to talk on the speakerphone to a "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" producer.
"Tell us something funny. No pressure. It's just six million people watching!" mused Leno's publicist to Giguere, the first NHL guest on "The Tonight Show" since Detroit Red Wing Brendan Shanahan in 1997.
"Uhhhhhhh," Giguere uttered, stroking his playoff beard, as stumped by this pre-show interview as he would be if a puck got wedged in his steel cage.
Giguere was mined for humor in stories about his fiancée's request for a pre-wedding makeover and his possible bearded resemblance to Brad Pitt in "Seven Years in Tibet."
"Jiggy and Brad Pitt?" Chouinard buckled over in laughter. "You just made his day!"
"Do I get to meet Jennifer (Aniston)?" Giguere quickly inquired.
Though the Pitt-Giguere resemblance didn't make his Leno debut on Friday, Giguere was a charming second guest taking the stage while "The Tonight Show" band played its rendition of his theme song, "Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It."
Brother Stephane would have come through with tales about the youngest of five children, the one nicknamed "Ti cul," which is French for "little bottom."
"You should see him in the summer when he plays in the old-timers hockey league," said Stephane, who played in the IHL.
"Sebast plays forward. You should see him skate. He falls down like 15 times every game because he can't brake. He gets up laughing."
Maybe that's something for Giguere's next story.
The polo shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops repaired with masking tape just got me. He's such an ah peh, lol. I can just picture him sitting in a coffee shop, one leg up on a stool. And none of you except maybe _vibrant_x understood that. ;)