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DUCK REPORT

Babcock Not in Award Race

May 01, 2003|Chris Foster and Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writers

First-year Coach Mike Babcock, who guided the Mighty Ducks' remarkable rise, was not among the NHL finalists for the Jack Adams Trophy, given to the league's coach of the year.

Jacques Lemaire of the Minnesota Wild, Jacques Martin of the Ottawa Senators and John Tortorella of the Tampa Bay Lightning were the three finalists voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Assn.

Under Babcock, the Ducks went from a 13th-place team with 69 points to a playoff team in one season.

"It's surprising," team captain Paul Kariya said, "considering the turnaround we've experienced this season. I was sure he would be on the list. I don't know if they count playoffs, but what he did in the first round lends credence to him being in that category."

Postseason performances are not considered when voting on league awards, as votes are due before the playoffs begin. But the Ducks' regular-season success seemed enough to put Babcock in the finalist category.

Not that he cares, of course.

"The test of coaching is in longevity," Babcock said. "There are a lot of guys who come in and do it for the short-term."

The Dallas Stars had four players voted as trophy finalists: Derian Hatcher for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Jere Lehtinen for the Selke Trophy (top defensive forward), Mike Modano for the Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship), and Marty Turco for the Vezina Trophy (top goaltender).

The Ducks do not have a finalist for any of the awards.

"There are a lot of people who hadn't seen our team play," Babcock said. "I lived in the East and it's easy to see those teams. I don't put too much stock in the awards. They have nothing to do with what we're trying to do here."

*

Duck goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere spent another morning grinding his way through media interviews. Unlike many goalies, Giguere talks to the media on the game-day mornings.

"I used to not talk, but it got to be too stressful," Giguere said. "Where's the fun in that? What, I'm not going to talk to people 82 days a year? Where's the fun in that?"

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Brett Hull of the Detroit Red Wings called it "gross hockey."

The Stars' Modano agreed in so many words, disparaging the Ducks' defense-first style. But four years ago, when they were teammates in Dallas, Hull and Modano had another name for it: championship hockey.

"I'm the first to admit, that's how we won in '99," Modano said of the Stars' run to the Stanley Cup. "There's no doubt about it, we were a smotherin', grabbin', holdin', hookin' team in '99. That's the way the game was played."

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