New Ducks' defenseman scored first goal in Anaheim history--for Red Wings
Veteran NHL defenseman Aaron Ward--acquired at the trading deadline Wednesday along with the centerpiece of the Ducks' deals, offensive defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky--has made a splash in the arena they used to call the Pond before.
Ward scored the first NHL goal in the building, on Oct. 8, 1993, the opening night in Ducks history.
A forgotten detail in his long career? Not exactly. He remembers.
"Down to the split-second," said Ward, 37, who was acquired from Carolina but won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings. "I got the puck from [Sergei] Fedorov for a one-timer. I think Ray Sheppard passed to him.... I went top shelf on, I think it was Guy Hebert at the time. No, I don't remember any of it."
As for the Disneyfied opening-night hoopla, he really doesn't remember any of it.
"We had Scotty Bowman at that time, so I think he locked the door. We were not permitted to see what was going on," Ward said, drawing laughter.
Ward is a stay-at-home defenseman who takes pride in his shot-blocking and knows all the spots to add extra padding, right down to the instep of his skates.
Visnovsky, 33, is an offensive specialist who had 10 goals and 32 points for dismal Edmonton and was brought to the Ducks with a clear mission: running their power play.
Both are expected to be in the lineup Saturday at Phoenix to bolster a blueline that has been subpar much of the season. Their assignment is straightforward.
"Just come and play and do what they do best. Be themselves," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. "[We're] not asking them to do anything else other than do the things they normally have done and had an ability to survive in the National Hockey League and make an impact."
Carlyle also declared his own Olympic closing ceremony of sorts after excusing the seven Olympians still on the team from practice to make a public appearance arranged by the club at an area hotel.
"We designated today as the day for our Olympians to put finality to the requests from media and everybody, and from this day forward that's something in the past," Carlyle said.
"We've got to focus on our task at hand."
-- Robyn Norwood
Photo: Aaron Ward. Credit: Kevin Hoffman / US Presswire