June 01, 2008

2003: Jiggy With The Devils

The year is 2003. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, ridiculed eternally for their nickname, are ridiculed no longer, as they make it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals.

The Ducks are led by incredibly hot goaltending of Jean-Sebastian Giguere, or "Jiggy" as he is dubbed by everyone include Tonight Show host Jay Leno, who had him on his show. The Ducks did have the speedy Paul Kariya, though the series' signature moment saw Kariya devastated by a Scott Stevens body check. Otherwise the team was a group of overachievers such as Keith Carney, Mike Leclerc, Steve Rucchin, Steve Thomas and an aging Adam Oates.

After knocking off the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild, the Ducks found themselves facing Stanley Cup battle-tested New Jersey in the finals. The Ducks would give them everything they had, but would fall just short in game 7.

The Devils, winners in 1995 and 2000, returned with Martin Brodeur in net and Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Ken Daneyko on defense. Up front the 2003 team featured gritty performances from Joe Nieuwendyk, John Madden, Grant Marshall, Jamie Langenbrunner and Turner Stevenson. The offense was provided by Patrik Elias, Scott Gomez and, famously in game 7, rookie Michael Rupp.

Interestingly, the final series pitted brother against brother, as the Niedermayer brothers Scott (NJ) and Rob (ANA) faced off. The boy's mother publicly announced she was rooting for Rob's Ducks to win, because at that time Rob had never won the Cup, something Scott did twice.

After winning the Cup the Devils celebrated by taking the famous trophy to Yankee Stadium, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Late Show with David Letterman.

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