The veteran National Hockey League goaltender not only was bothered by the team’s fifth consecutive defeat, 3-1 to Calgary on Monday, but suggested his teammates might be looking ahead to a long off-season rather than showing a competitive fire with nine games left in the regular season.
“Some guys are more worried about their [Las] Vegas trip at the end of the season than playing the games, than playing every minute of the games,” a fuming Giguere told the Denver Post after seeing the Avalanche's record fall to an NHL-worst 12-22-5.
“It’s embarrassing. I’m embarrassed to be here right now. … Quite frankly, I don’t care about your Vegas trip right now.”
Giguere has been on his share of losing teams during 15 NHL seasons, from the 2000-01 Anaheim Ducks (25-41-16) to the 2003-04 Ducks (29-35-18) to the 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs (30-38-14), so it’s not the losing that seems to have the netminder red-faced but rather a perceived lack of attention to detail and focus by his teammates.
“I’ve been around for 15 years in this league and I don’t know what it is,” said Giguere, who is 47th on the all-time list for games played by a goalie with 569. “I don’t know why we seem like we don’t care at points. Some guys are fighting to show they belong in the NHL, some guys are fighting for contracts. And it’s just embarrassing … the energy we have in the [dressing] room and the way we approach practices and the way we approach this game."
While some might view the 35-year-old goalie’s comments as a way to get general manager Greg Sherman to move him with one year left on his contract, which includes a no-trade clause, Giguere could simply be a professional athlete full of pride.
“There’s not one easy game in this league, so you’ve got to play hard and you’ve got to play well every night,” said Giguere, who stopped 31 of 34 shots Monday to raise his season goals-against average to 2.84 and save percentage to .911. “You’ve got to find a way to get yourself motivated and focused.”
The Flames are 14th in the 15-team Western Conference, three points ahead of Colorado (12-22-5) after Monday’s victory. Despite the fact the Avalanche have scored only six times during the current losing streak and are 0-for-13 on the power play in that span, Giguere said the club’s struggles aren’t limited to the offensive zone.
“As long as we don’t understand that we have to play better in our zone, we’ll never win any games," he said. "We spend too much time in our zone and that’s hard.
“We know we can score some goals, we have some offensive tools. But when you … give up too many scoring chances, you’re not going to win games like that.
“There’s no more excuses,” Giguere, who won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007, added. “It’s not about being young, it’s not about … we have to put our head into the game.”
Colorado, on its way to a third straight missed playoffs, is off Tuesday before facing a tough Anaheim squad in California. The Avalanche are 2-15-3 on the road this season, with one of those losses coming at Anaheim, a 4-3 overtime defeat on Feb. 24 with Giguere manning the Colorado net.
“We have to find a way to get out of this losing mentality, you know? It starts with me and the guy beside me and everyone has to do their part,” said Giguere.