These interviews were conducted at yesterday's practice.
Jewels from the Crown: Can you compare the Ontario-San Diego rivalry with Manchester-Portland's last season?
Paul Bissonnette: I think when you're playing a team so much, you look at any team in our division, we're playing them 12 times a year. It just so happens that San Diego is that team we just kind of hate. We also played them three times in preseason too. It's been magnified since Day One. It's just one of those things, I can't really describe it. We both don't really like each other.
JFTC: Do you guys get a little surge, are you a little more amped up in the locker room before you play the Gulls?
PB: Yeah, we talk about the rivalry. We have a pretty intense coach. We go into every game with the mentality. But yeah, there's definitely a little icing on the cake if you can win against San Diego, for sure.
JFTC: Was San Diego able to get more traffic in front of you than other teams this season?
Peter Budaj: Every team has a tendency. But I don't think they necessarily put more traffic than other teams. I think everybody wants to score in front of the net, so everybody drives the net and goes hard to the net.
JFTC: How do the Gulls mirror the Ducks?
Chris Hajt: Obviously, special teams is a big thing. Both clubs are up there in their penalty kill and power play. They definitely move the puck around really well. They have really good skill, they have some size.
JFTC: In 2000, you played in a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 as a member of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Your opponent was the Rochester Americans...
CH: Honestly, Sheng, (laughs) I don't remember. That's unfortunate. I'm older now. But I honestly couldn't tell you.
JFTC: So let's just say the 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 experience traumatized you so much, you forgot about it?
CH: Yeah. (laughs)
JFTC: What has the atmosphere been like at Valley View Casino this year, compared to when you played in San Diego? (Note: McDonough played for the IHL's Gulls from 1992-95.)
Hubie McDonough: Oh, goodness. That's a really good question. I don't remember it being as full as it was.
They just keep coming in and coming in. I'm sitting with [Dusty Imoo] watching the game, and we just keep getting moved up, moved up, and suddenly, we're in the back row.
And they're boisterous too. Really into it. I know they love their hockey there. I was appreciative of the time that I was there. But it seems to be even more so now.
It's good for the players. It's good to play in front of crowds like that.
JFTC: Anything that stands out to you about the San Diego crowd, as opposed to other arenas?
HM: They're knowledgeable. They know when a puck is cleared on a shorthanded situation, that's a good thing. All those little things, the subtleties of the game, they understand.
It's a really fun atmosphere to be in. It seems to be a very young crowd. I don't know if it's college kids.
It just surprises me in all of California, how everybody shows up a little bit late. We were watching the first period, came out for the second, can't find a seat again.