Mighty Duck Hunt
The best way for the Stars to cool down hot Anaheim goalie Jean-S�bastien Giguere is to crash the crease
The Bruises he incurred during a bone-crunching, six-game first-round series against the Oilers had barely begun to purple, but Dallas left wing Brenden Morrow was already looking forward to a date with the Mighty Ducks this week in the Western Conference semifinals. " Anaheim has smaller defensemen than Edmonton," Morrow, a fixture in front of the Oilers' net throughout the series, said after the Stars clinched with a 3-2 win last Saturday. "Maybe my body won't take the abuse I got from these guys."
The Mighty Ducks make up for their lack of size on the blue line with the colossus they have in net, Jean-S�bastien Giguere. To avoid adding to the legend of Giguere, who stopped 165 of 171 shots in Anaheim's sweep of Detroit in Round 1, Dallas must attack him with more muscle than the flashy Red Wings did. Detroit peppered Giguere with shots from the perimeter but rarely crashed the crease to set screens or pounce on rebounds. Giguere is so fundamentally sound and quick on his feet that allowing him clear views of the puck is tantamount to booking a time-share in me Bahamas for the Stanley Cup finals.
The Stars will try to unsettle him by moving the puck across the offensive zone. That plan requires another big contribution from defenseman Sergei Zubov, an expert passer who often joins the attack. Against Edmonton, Zubov had four goals and six assists, and he set up Mike Modano's game-winner on Saturday with the type of misdirection—a cross-ice pass through the slot—needed to beat Giguere.
The 5'11", 210-pound Morrow, who had four assists against the Oilers, will be a key figure as well. Dallas coach Dave Tippett called him "one of the most influential players" in the Edmonton series for his ability to create traffic and take punishment in front of the opposing goalie. "That's his game," says Scott Young, the other wing on a line with Morrow and Modano. "He creates a lot that doesn't show up on the stat sheet."
What's Next for Detroit?
The Red Wings' Off-season Plans
Last week general manager Ken Holland said that the Red Wings, with a payroll approaching $70 million, would have to cut costs this summer regardless of how far the team went in the playoffs. But after Detroit was swept in the first round by the Ducks, Holland might have to trim more than planned.
The loss of projected postseason revenue for the Red Wings is about $4 million per home game—a total of as much as $56 million, assuming they would have reached the finals. Leading scorer Sergei Fedorov, forward Darren McCarty and defenseman Jason Woolley will be unrestricted free agents on July 1. Detroit wants all three back but isn't likely to enter bidding wars to retain their services. Holland will clear payroll by cutting ties with aging forwards Luc Robitaille, 37, and Igor Larionov, 42, and replacing them with prospects Igor Grigorenko, 20, and Jason Williams, 22.