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Fernandez's Mind Is On His Father

NHL PLAYOFFS / MINNESOTA VS. MIGHTY DUCKS / SERIES
REPORT | WILD NOTES

May 14, 2003|Lisa Dillman and Helene Elliott | Times Staff Writers

Marc Fernandez, the 52-year-old father of Wild goaltender Manny Fernandez and brother-in-law of Minnesota Coach Jacques Lemaire, was scheduled for triple-bypass heart surgery today in the early morning hours in Montreal. The same procedure, which is expected to last four and a half to five hours, had been set to take place Tuesday.

"Obviously it would have been good for everything to be done today," Fernandez said Tuesday afternoon after practice at the Arrowhead Pond.

"Tomorrow is the same. I have confidence. I talked to the doctors. They say they do about 15 a day."

Fernandez traveled to Montreal on Saturday after Game 1, when the team chartered a flight for him. Once he saw his father in person, Fernandez felt remarkably better.

"It's emotional, obviously, because he understands for me to go down there is something big," said Fernandez, who made a point to praise the Wild organization.

"He's always been there for me. I wanted to make sure everything was all right. After talking to him, I felt kind of silly to have been down because he doesn't think it's huge. The doctors are talking about it like it's removing one of his teeth."

*

Wild forward Marian Gaborik is as aware as anyone that he needs to supply a more sustained effort tonight in Game 3, having gone pointless in his last three games. Lemaire trimmed back his ice time at the start of the third period in Game 2.

"I could do better, I have to try to do better," Gaborik said. "I need to create offense for myself and for my team."

Said Lemaire: "You guys are only focusing on Gaborik, probably because he's the top scorer on our club, and he's a top player in a way.

"But it's not only Gabby. Gabby has to do his share. The other guys have to do their share."

*

Tod Leiweke, president and chief operating officer of the Minnesota Wild, could easily lord it over his younger brother, Tim, the president of the Kings and of Staples Center, because the third-year Wild advanced to the West finals and the Kings didn't make the playoffs.

But Tod, the youngest of the four Leiweke brothers -- after Terry, Tracy and Tim -- has taken the high road. He knows fortunes can change too quickly in the NHL to gloat. "It's a long life," Tod Leiweke said. "I worked in Vancouver for four years and it's awesome to see how they've rebuilt hockey there. There was incredible joy [after the Wild defeated the Canucks], but I also paused to think about my pals up there. It was tough after the year they had and being up, 3-1."

Tim Leiweke invited Tod, 43, to stay at his house this week, while the Wild plays Games 3 and 4 of the West finals, but concerns about traffic might keep Tod closer to Anaheim.

"I think he's proud of what we've done," Tod said, "and I'm proud of what he's done."

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