So whether he starts for the Ducks in Friday night’s Game 2 of the Western Conference playoffs against Minnesota is not a big deal. Giguere and his wife, Kristen, had been worried that their newborn son might be blind. Maxime Olivier, born on April 4, has a deformed right eye and there was some question whether he would be able to see with his left. A specialist told the couple on Tuesday that their son does have vision in his left eye.
“It was a great relief,” said Giguere, sitting in front of his locker after practice Thursday. “It’s when they checked the second eye (a preliminary exam) that we kind of fell apart. Knowing that his left eye is good really put things in perspective.
“I think he’ll be able to do whatever he sets his goal to do in life. He may have some challenges in front of him, but not even close to what it would be if both his eyes were bad.”
Giguere was given time off from practice to be with his family last week and did not make the team’s trip to close out the regular season.
The Gigueres got the good news after Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli helped them consult with leading specialists, including one at the UCLA Medical Center who determined their son could see with his left eye.
“We were extremely grateful to everybody who helped us,” Giguere said. “The doctors who took care of him and my wife were the best you could ask for. The organization here, everybody stepped up trying to help our son.
“I must thank everybody that prayed and talked and tried to help us. It was amazing.”
Teammate Scott Niedermayer, who has three sons, could empathize.
“You feel for him,” Niedermayer said. “It’s great to see him get some good news.”
Because of Giguere’s family situation, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle decided to start backup Ilya Bryzgalov in Wednesday’s game, saying Giguere had been on an emotional roller coaster and could use the time to “get his feet underneath him.”
Bryzgalov, who filled in capably in the post-season last year when Giguere was injured, was solid in the opener, stopping 24 shots in the Ducks’ 2-1 victory.
Carlyle wouldn’t say which goalie will start Game 2. He usually doesn’t even tell the goalies themselves until the day of the game.
Both Giguere and Bryzgalov have learned to deal with the late notice.
“We have to both be prepared,” Bryzgalov said. “The coach tells me to play, I play. My job is to stop the puck.”
Said Giguere: “You can’t play them all. If I don’t play tomorrow, it’s not going to be the end of the world, that’s for sure. It’s not like I’m going to go out and get drunk if I don’t play.”
Giguere, who had three shutouts when the Ducks swept the Wild in the 2003 Western Conference finals, added, “If Bryz gets on a roll, I’m going to be the first one to cheer him on. I don’t compete against Bryz and I want him to be successful when he plays. I compete against the puck. It would be selfish of me to wish anything bad for him.”
The Wild, who allowed the fewest goals (191) in the NHL this season, played well on defence and got outstanding goaltending from Niklas Backstrom, but couldn’t generate much offence in the opening loss.
“Both teams are playing tight hockey,” said Marian Gaborik, who assisted on Pavol Demitra’s second-period goal that gave the Wild a short-lived lead. “We played pretty good hockey, but we’ve got to get more offence going.”
Teammate Mark Parrish said the Wild need to get more production out of their power play, which went 0-for-4.
“We didn’t take advantage,” Parrish said. “You need to at least create chances on the power play.”
Dustin Penner scored the deciding goal with 5:20 remaining, with Backstrom flat on his back in the net after teammate Kim Johnsson crashed into him. Backstrom thought he had the puck trapped under his pads before Penner knocked it over the line.
Carlyle said if Backstrom did trap the puck it was only for a “millisecond” and that the referee was right on top of the play and made the right call.
Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, asked about the refereeing, stuck an index finger in each ear and smiled.