By Brady Aymond
The Daily Advertiser
As an NHL player in 1979, Dave Farrish watched as Canadiens players skated around the ice at historic Montreal Forum firmly clutching the Stanley Cup.
His team, the New York Rangers, could only grin and bear it.
It was, and remained, a haunting image for nearly three decades. But that ghost has been buried.
Twenty-eight years later, Farrish’s name is now etched on the Cup, after the Anaheim assistant helped lead the Ducks to a 4-1 Stanley Cup Finals series win over Ottawa. (By coincidence, that was the same series margin the Rangers won by in ’79.)
“It’s really hard to put into words,” Farrish said from his cottage in Northern Ontario, where he’s enjoying the offseason. “It’s something you dream about as a kid. You put it on such a high pedestal that once you acquire it, it’s hard to believe.
“We got to the finals with the Rangers and came up short and that was tough to watch. But 28 years later, my name is on that Cup.”
Farrish, who has strong Acadiana ties from coaching the Louisiana IceGators from 2000-04, just completed his first year as an assistant with Anaheim. Prior to taking the job with the Ducks, Farrish coached the Pensacola IcePilots for one season.
“Coming out of training camp, a lot of people picked us to win the Stanley Cup,” Farrish said. “So, right off the bat, we have expectations and we have to play that way. We came out of the gate extremely strong. We were 24-3-3 at the halfway point, blew everybody away the first half of the season.”
The Ducks hit a rough stretch around Christmas, as injuries started to mount. In a brutal stretch, they lost nine of 12 games. But the club fought through the adversity and closed the March schedule with 10 wins to go into the playoffs with a full head of steam.
“One thing I learned while in Louisiana was that you need something to go bad,” Farrish said. “The year we set all those records and finished with 116 points, we never really had any adversity. When we get into the playoffs and something goes bad, we didn’t know how to react.
“This year, we ran into injuries and you learn how to play through those situations. It really adds a lot to your mentality. It lets you understand that even with your parts missing, you can win. If everything comes easy, you could be on the outside looking in when it’s all over.”