Quiet Before the Storm
Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 11:22 AM PT
The table in the hallway outside the Ducks locker room -- which usually is topped with a container of coffee, stacks of fresh paper cups and piles of sheets containing the latest news clippings -- sits virtually empty. And that can only mean one thing: No practice today.
The Ducks hit the ice yesterday -- a day after returning from their jaunt through Finland and Sweden -- but were given the day off today. It's a last modicum of rest for a Ducks team that, starting with the home opener Friday night, will play three games in four nights (this time in arenas they've seen before.)
“They are tired,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “You can see it.”
Carlyle, who originally planned to give the team yesterday off and get back to practice Stateside today, had a change of heart after conferring with Captain Getzlaf. “He thought it was better if we skated today and then took tomorrow off,” Carlyle said. “We made the adjustment, we have that ability in this building and I thought it was probably a better move than taking today off. It was good to get them back out there.”
The Ducks have their first game in the States against the Sharks here on Friday night, an evening that will have the traditional glitz and glamour of a Ducks home opener. The usual red carpet will be transformed into the Miller Lite Blue Carpet, where fans can watch the players arriving between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. before going inside for the game. Sunday night is Corey Perry Night, as Perry will be honored for his Hart Trophy-winning season, and all fans in attendance will receive a commemorative poster (as they enter Honda Center) and puck (as they exit).
One thing the Ducks might have this weekend (according to Carlyle) that they didn't have in Europe is the services of Toni Lydman, arguably their best shutdown defenseman last year. Lydman, who continues to recover from offseason shoulder surgery, has yet to play at all this season, but saw a specialist in LA yesterday. His possible return is a tantalizing prospect for a Ducks defense that even without him was able to hold the Rangers to just 15 shots in that 2-1 victory Saturday in Stockholm.
Meanwhile, d-man Kurtis Foster is still recovering from having that wire removed from his thigh and was described by Carlyle as "rusty" but “very close to being ready to play some games.” Foster's only ice time with the Ducks so far is a few minutes in the exhibition against Jokerit last Tuesday.
Anaheim made a trade with Colorado for defenseman Kyle Cumiskey -- which sent prospect Jake Newton and a 2013 seventh-round pick to the Avs -- with Cumiskey being sent to Syracuse today. Cumiskey is an enticing pickup for the Ducks, as he's played NHL 132 games and led Avs defensemen with seven goals in 61 games two seasons ago. he also played for Team Canada in the World Championships last year. The 5-10, 185-pounder suffered a concussion last year that limited him to just 18 games.
"He’s a very, very quick puck-moving defenseman," Carlyle said. "At some point, I’m sure you’ll see him here. I don’t know when. Right now, we’ve got lots of defensemen so it’s tough.”
Like Cumiskey, goalie Jeff Deslauriers was also sent to the Crunch, after joining the Ducks for their Euro trip, since they were permitted to carry three goalies. The Ducks caught a break when Deslauriers passed through waivers before his assignment, as the former Oiler promises to be a very strong third option in net.