Murray: ‘It’s a good fit for them and a good fit for us.’

Ducks general Bob Murray said he wasn’t sure that Jean-Sebastien Giguere was headed for Toronto until 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

That’s how much of a whirlwind deal Sunday’s blockbuster was — mainly, according to Murray, because he was willing to trade his veteran goalie before Brian Burke was.

“I talked with (Toronto assistant) David Nonis and Burkie early in the year about this,” Murray said. “They didn’t feel it was the right time. All of a sudden, (Jonas) Hiller’s signed and I’ve got (Nonis) saying he’s interested in something. They had a much bigger deal going somewhere else (for Dion Phaneuf) and they wanted to tie everything together.

“It’s a good fit for Toronto. I think that Jiggy’s a perfect guy to be with The Monster (Jonas Gustavsson) and (goaltending consultant) Frankie Allaire. It’s a good fit for them and a good fit for us. It came together all in the last 24 hours.”
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Sexton assigned to Manitoba.

With Jason Blake en route from Toronto, the Ducks chose rookie sensation Dan Sexton as the odd man out of the Ducks’ forward corps Sunday, assigning the right wing to Manitoba of the American Hockey League.

Goaltender Justin Pogge was recalled from AHL San Antonio but his stay could be a short one if Vesa Toskala is able to suit up for the Ducks tomorrow against the Florida Panthers.

Sexton appeared in 28 games for the Ducks, collecting nine goals and 18 points with 14 penalty minutes. The 22-year-old led all NHL rookies in goals and points, along with scoring on the road, since his recall from Manitoba on Dec. 4. He scored six goals and 11 points in the month of December, ranking second among league rookies in scoring and tied for second in goals. Sexton also posted a career-high three-game goal streak from Dec. 3-8, matching the longest by a rookie this season.

Giguere traded to Toronto.

The Ducks have traded Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the most decorated goalie in franchise history, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Jason Blake and goaltender Vesa Toskala.

The writing was on the wall Saturday, when the Ducks tabbed Jonas Hiller as their goaltender of the future by extending his contract for four years. Giguere, who was set to become a free agent after the 2010-11 season, must waive his no-trade clause to approve any trade.** He was expected to do so to be reunited with goaltending consultant Francois Allaire and general manager Brian Burke in Toronto, which is also much closer to his native Montreal.

Toskala, 32, lost his starting job to Jonas Gustafsson in Toronto, and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, when he is owed $4 million. Blake, 36, still has two years and $6 million remaining on his contract after this season, with a cap hit of $4 million each year.

Toskala has appeared in 260 career games with Toronto and San Jose, going 127-82-25 with 13 shutouts, a 2.77 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.

Blake peaked as a member of the New York Islanders in 2006-07, when he scored a career-high 40 goals. In an 11-year career that began with the Kings in 1998, Blake has 184 goals and 427 assists in 724 games.

**Update: The Toronto Maple Leafs were one of the teams Giguere previously indicated to Bob Murray that he would be willing to accept a trade to. Presumably, the trade was a done deal as soon as Bob Murray and Brian Burke had decided upon the specifics.
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Ducks 2, Tampa Bay 1. Updates with quotes.

James Wisniewski scored his second shootout game-winner this week, after scoring the Ducks’ lone goal in regulation, completing a hard-fought victory at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Wisniewski had never taken part in an NHL shootout before last Saturday, when he scored the clinching goal in sudden death in St. Louis.

On Friday after Corey Perry missed, and Ryan Getzlaf scored, head coach Randy Carlyle turned to the defenseman in the third shootout round — and Wisniewski did not disappoint.

“The guy scored in the last one for us, so if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” Carlyle said. “He did it again, so we might have to stick with him.”

Jonas Hiller allowed a goal to Steven Stamkos in the shootout, and to Martin St. Louis in the first period, but was otherwise perfect for the Ducks. He f
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Huntington Beach Inline hosting Junior Olympic tournament.

Approximately 4,000 athletes representing 400 teams from 10 different countries are expected to invade Southern California for the Inline Hockey Junior Olympics, July 1-11.

Huntington Beach Inline will serve as headquarters, with one additional local facility (to be announced) hosting games at the tournament, which has never before been to the West Coast. In addition to this year’s Junior Olympics, the Ducks have signed on to host future tournaments at their local affiliate rinks.

Of the 400 expected teams in 2010, more than 200 are based in California. The tournament features numerous age groups and divisions (8u, 10u, 12u, 14u, 16u, 18u, 21u, men’s), and approximately 50 international teams from as far away as Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Germany and France. Canada, Mexico and Colombia have also committed numerous teams.

For more information about the Inline Hockey Junior Olympics, visit

Washington 5, Ducks 1.

The storyline was different this time, but the result was a familiar one for the Ducks on this six-game road trip.

After allowing an early goal, Anaheim (24-23-7) resiliently battled the Washington Capitals (35-12-6) for 40 minutes, then ran out of gas in an up-and-down third period.

Washington scored a mere 36 seconds into the game when Alexander Ovechkin was inexplicably left alone in front of the net, and easily tapped in a rebound past Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who was getting a rare start 24 hours after Jonas Hiller lost in Atlanta.

Having been introduced to the reigning league MVP, the Ducks’ defense buckled down considerably on Ovechkin and the high-flying Capitals. When they didn’t, Giguere was almost never out of position, sprinkling in several point-blank saves among the 34 he made through two periods.

The Ducks tied the game in the second period when Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth allowed a long rebound off a deep Sheldon Brookbank slapshot. The puck came to Dan Sexton in the left faceoff circle, and the Ducks rookie didn’t miss a wide-open net at 11:23.

But Washington, which leads the NHL at 3.81 goals per game, made up for lost time by teeing off against Giguere in the third period.

Shaone Morrisonn angled a deep slapshot in off the skate of Steve Eminger at 1:15 for the go-ahead goal. Mike Knuble scored 56 seconds after, and Alexander Semin scored on a breakaway at 4:15, making it a three-goal game in a three-minute span.

Semin provided the final score with another goal, this time during a 5-on-3 shift, at 11:47.

The Capitals’ eighth straight win is the team’s longest in 26 years.

The Ducks fell to 1-3 on the road trip, which resumes in Tampa Bay on Friday. Giguere stopped 44 shots in his first start since Jan. 3.

Atlanta 2, Ducks 1.

Steve Eminger’s second goal of the season was all the Ducks would get at Philips Center, where backup netminder Johan Hedberg was stellar in a 34-save victory.

Hedberg’s effort allowed goals by Colby Armstrong in the second period, and Maxim Afinogenov in the third, to stand up. Jonas Hiller stopped 32 of 34 for the Ducks.

Corey Perry did most of the work on Eminger’s goal, charging out from behind the Atlanta net and backhanding the puck on Hedberg from just outside the crease. Eminger skated in unchecked to get the last touch, angling it between the legs of Afinogenov and into the net.

Armstrong took advantage of a long rebound off the pads of Hiller, firing in the game’s first goal from the slot at 4:32 of the second period. Randy Carlyle burned his timeout shortly thereafter, delivered a spirited speech on the bench, and moved Bobby Ryan up to the Ducks’ top line. Perry scored with 2:02 left in the period.

But the Thrasher potted the go-ahead goal, skating 5-on-4 at 4:03 of the third period when a failed clearing attempt by the Ducks landed on Afinogeov’s stick at the right point.

After a sluggish start, the Ducks (24-22-7) bounced back with a strong third period, in which they outshot Atlanta 15-6, including 5-1 in the final five minutes. Completing a night of bad breaks for Anaheim, Ryan Getzlaf hit the post with a wrist shot at the buzzer.

The Ducks are 1-2 to begin their season-long, six-game road trip, which continues tomorrow in Washington.

Report: AHL shakeup could help Ducks.

A story posted today at insinuated that the Ducks might not be without an American Hockey League affiliate much longer.

Entitled “AHL Shakeup Coming?”, the story said that AHL Commissioner David Andrews has a couple possibilities on the horizon. One would see the Iowa Chops re-activated under new ownership, and renewing its affiliation with Anaheim. The Des Moines-based team failed to make payments owed the Ducks and thenwas booted from the league, after its owners encountered financial difficulties.

Andrews also told SBNation thatthe Texas Stars are only temporarily associated with the Dallas Stars and, if the affiliation isn’t made permanent, the league will not exempt the franchise and it may cease operations.