EDs: WILL be UPDATED with postgame notes.
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -The Ducks' appearance marks the third time a California team has reached the Stanley Cup finals.
The first two went home empty-handed.
Anaheim took the 2003 finals to Game 7 before the New Jersey Devils captured the Cup. The Los Angeles Kings made it to the final round in 1993, but the Montreal Canadiens knocked them off in five games.
The only team from the West Coast to win the Stanley Cup wasn't from California, or even the United States. The Victoria Cougars of the Western Canada Hockey League won it in 1925.
There hasn't been a champion from the West Coast of any kind since Stanley Cup play was restricted to NHL teams. That was 80 years ago.
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DOWNSIZED: Goalies' equipment was downsized by the league a couple of years ago, and the Ducks' Jean-Sebastien Giguere said he learned to live with it.
``My equipment is 14 percent smaller,'' he said.
Some opponents in the past wondered whether Giguere, who tends to make most saves look routine, had pads that were larger than they were supposed to be.
He said there's no way that would happen.
``A company is just not allowed to send you equipment that's not legal, and it's got to go through the league before it gets to you,'' Giguere said. ``We all play with the same equipment. So we are all in the same boat.
``You have to pick equipment that's going to fit your style and how you play.''
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HONORING CHELI: Detroit's Chris Chelios is the first recipient of the Mark Messier Leader of the Year award, honoring the defenseman's on-ice performance, his leadership skills and charitable efforts.
Messier, the retired New York Rangers star, announced the award Wednesday. Its sponsor, a diet supplement company, will donate $25,000 to a charity of Chelios' choice.
``He's been tremendous for a long time,'' Messier told The Associated Press. ``It would have been nice to have a chance to play with him at some point in my career. Everybody that's played with him just has raved about what a great guy he was to play with.''
The 45-year-old Chelios averaged more than 20 minutes on the ice during Detroit's playoff run. The 11-time NHL All-Star is second in career playoff games.
``I strongly believe that an important part of being an athlete is to do my best to give back to the community whenever possible,'' he said in a statement.
Since its inception in 1992, Cheli's Children's Foundation has given more than $2 million to children's charities in Detroit and Chelios' hometown of Chicago.

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