ANAHEIM, California -- When you consider the career arc of veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin, it appears a little more circular than most players.
A Sorel, Quebec, native, he was acquired by the Anaheim Ducks from the Columbus Blue Jackets as a young man almost a decade ago in his rookie year. In 2007, Beauchemin was a key contributor during the Ducks' only trip to Stanley Cup glory. Then in 2009, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs but returned to the Ducks in 2011.
Now 34, he's a little wiser, a little more gray, perhaps, and hoping playoff history will repeat itself.
Through Anaheim's first-round series sweep of the Winnipeg Jets, Beauchemin led all Ducks players in average ice time. He chipped in two assists while playing with emerging young defender Hampus Lindholm. The Ducks open their second-round series against the upstart Calgary Flames on Thursday night. While in Anaheim preparing, Beauchemin spent some time with ESPN.com reflecting on his NHL journey.
BURNSIDE: Do you remember the moment you found out you were coming here the first time?
BEAUCHEMIN: Absolutely. I was in Columbus at the movie theater. I had just got there a month ago and that was in November, and obviously my phone was off at the movie theater, my wife and I walked out of there ...
BURNSIDE: Do you remember what movie it was?
BEAUCHEMIN: [Laughs] I don't remember the movie. No. That I don't. Yeah, we walk out of the movie theater, turn my phone on and I had like five voicemails. So that's Doug MacLean [former Columbus GM] and Brian Burke [then GM of the Ducks] welcoming me here, and Doug MacLean's message was, 'I got bad news and good news. The bad news is you were traded; the good news is you're going to Anaheim.' That's what I remember from his messages. Then I called Burkie afterwards, and he said he was really happy having me and all that stuff.
BURNSIDE: It must have been a magical time because you became such an important part of this team. When you think back to when you first got here -- the first time -- what sticks out in your mind?
BEAUCHEMIN: Well, that was my first year in the league. I was just trying to make my way into the lineup. I was in and out of the lineup in Columbus. When I got here, I was scratched for a few games. The first game I had the chance to play, I think we were in kind of a losing streak, a six-, seven-game losing streak. The first game I got into the lineup, I was with [Hall of Famer] Scott Niedermayer paired up, and then we won that game. And it kept rolling as the season went on.
BURNSIDE: It seems like a silly question, maybe, but a highlight of your time the first time through in Anaheim? What's the moment you remember the most the first time through?
BEAUCHEMIN: Scoring a goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final. Actually we were up 3-1 and then we were on the power play in the second period here at home, and Ottawa scored short-handed and that made it 3-2. Then I go out on the ice, and then I'm with Andy McDonald. He skates up the puck to the blue line, walks into the offensive zone, drops it back to me. I shot a one-timer that went through [Andrej] Meszaros's stick and then went into the net. That made it 4-2 with a minute left in the second. That pretty much closed the deal for us. I think that was a big goal, and we went on to win the Stanley Cup half an hour later.
BURNSIDE: What do you remember from that night? Here in this locker room or on this ice?
BEAUCHEMIN: On the ice, I mean my family members were all here. My parents, my in-laws, my brother-in-law, a couple of friends. It was just a magical moment. That was just a dream -- everybody's dream -- to win the Stanley Cup since you were a kid, and then once it happens, I think you just try and enjoy it. The night goes by fast, but I think you try to enjoy every moment. Come in here in the [locker] room and the champagne and the beer flowing. It was a pretty great moment.
BURNSIDE: The Stanley Cup ring, where do you keep it?
BEAUCHEMIN: It's at my house. I keep it at my house. I wear it a couple of times a year at special occasions.
BURNSIDE: What's it feel like when you put the ring on?
BEAUCHEMIN: It's always nice. I mean all those memories come back at you. You remember all of it, the playoffs, the whole season. It's a long season, and it's a long playoff run. You just remember those special moments, Scotty [Niedermayer] getting a tying goal and Teemu's [Selanne] playoff goal in Game 6 in Detroit, a backhand top shelf on [Dominik] Hasek, the water bottle going up. Those are all magical moments that we remember for the rest of your life.
BURNSIDE: When you got a chance to come back to Anaheim was it strange or was it easy?
BEAUCHEMIN: It was easy. There were a lot of guys that were here before I left. Trainers were still here. Obviously it was the same coaching staff, and it was a really easy adjustment. It felt just like coming back home after being gone for a year and a half. Obviously the adjustment was pretty easy to make. I knew the system. I knew pretty much everything. I got back in my stall and kept playing some hockey.
BURNSIDE: I saw that you led the Ducks in ice time in the first round. [Coach] Bruce [Boudreau] relies on you heavily. Does it feel sort of weird to be back in a different part of your career and chasing the same dream?
BEAUCHEMIN: It doesn't feel weird. It just feels like my career is going on, and it's been 10 years now. I got older. We've got a younger group. I've got a younger group of guys around me ... especially on the back end with Cam [Fowler], Sami [Vatanen], [Simon] Despres -- those guys are 22, 23 years old, and they're just starting into the league, trying to learn how to win. We just try and go out there and lead by example.
BURNSIDE: Does the hunger, the desire to win another Cup -- does it change as you get older?
BEAUCHEMIN: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. You always tell yourself, is it going to be the last chance, is it going to be the last year? Last year we were one game away from going in the conference final again; it always leaves a sour taste in your mouth when that happens, especially losing the way we did. Same thing the year before -- lost to Detroit Game 7 -- so those are really tough losses to accept. But you have to take it and think about what we did wrong and make sure we don't do the same thing.
BURNSIDE: What's it feel like now? You go into the second round [after] you sweep Winnipeg. You have a lot of time off, is it weird to have this gap?
BEAUCHEMIN: It is weird. And now we get the schedule, and we find out we have two days in between Game 1 and 2. ... But those are things that come with the playoffs. It's not one thing we can focus on. As long as we focus on what we have to do out there, make sure we're ready for Game 1, and just go from there. We had a really good week of practice. The boys are ready. They're in a good mood and everybody's healthy. Sometimes it's good to get that break for those guys that are a little bit banged up.