By Adam Brady
Director of Publications & New Media
for the Ducks and Honda Center.
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Opening Niiiiiggghhhhht

Friday, 10.14.2011 / 2:35 PM
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
Opening Niiiiiggghhhhht

We're mere hours away from one of the coolest nights this place sees all year, but this one packs just a little more buzz than your typical Ducks home opener.

Because of their jaunt through Scandinavia for the first two games of the season, it's the first Stateside game of the regular season for the Ducks. And because of the much-needed rest they were granted in the afterglow of that trip, it's the first Ducks hockey game of any kind in six days. And oh, by the way, the teal is in the building.

That rest, while very important for the team in the long run, had been tough for Ducks fans to endure. We're ready for some more hockey, dammit, and we're finally getting it back tonight.

There's all the hustle and bustle of opening night among the staff here at Honda Center as well. A minute ago I asked our building operations guy for a new lightbulb, since the one in my office burned out. He looked at me like I asked him for a unicorn to ride around the arena. (I'm thinking I'll get that lightbulb on Monday).

It wouldn't be a Ducks home opener without some pomp and circumstance. Fans are already arriving for the "Miller Lite Blue Carpet," which will include live music and Ducks player arrivals. Those suit-clad Ducks will stop for interviews, sign a few autographs, shake a few hands, maybe kiss a few babies. (We'll have photos and video of it later, but follow along on our Twitter page as well.)

Once inside, you'll be handed a brand new Ducks Digest (I had to get that plug in)with a couple of pretty important Ducks on the cover. You'll find new and different food, including the Burger Bistro and Outlaw's Smokehouse (I can tell you firsthand that the brisket sandwich with cole slaw on it is fantastic.)

When those Ducks hit the ice for the warmup, you'll notice them wearing a special "24" patch in honor or Ruslan Salei.

And then of course there is a hockey game, a very important hockey game against one of the Ducks' more reviled opponents. (It's true that familiarity breeds contempt, as this is the first of six meetings between the Ducks and Sharks this season, not to mention the two in the preseason.)

Despite the fact their last game was in Phoenix, the Sharks have gotten the same amount of gamedays off as the Ducks have, not having played since beating the Coyotes 6-3. For the second straight game, they will be without their starting goalie (in other words they'll be anti-Antti Niemi) as he recovers from having a cyst removed from his knee. Meanwhile, traditional backup Antero Niittymaki (I definitely copied and pasted that name for fear of misspelling it) is out a few more months following hip surgery.

The Ducks, on the other hand, got some good news in the injury realm, as Toni Lydman is expected to be in the lineup tonight. Lydman hasn't played at all as he comes back from a May surgery to repair a torn labrum, but has been cleared for contact for the past several days now. “He will in all likelihood play tonight,” Randy Carlyle said this morning. ”I haven’t talked to him since he got off the ice. I haven’t been made aware there was any setbacks. We were going along the premise that he would be available to us if everything was fine this morning. That hasn’t changed.”

If he's in there, expect him to be paired (as he was for most of last year) with Lubomir Visnovsky, with Cam Fowler likely playing with Francois Beauchemin again. 

Tonight is also the first chance for the home crowd to see the top line of Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan and that second line of Selanne, Koivu and Blake, with both groups looking to get something going after having a quiet two games in Europe. That fascinating unit line of Gordon, Smith-Pelly and Cogliano will likely be together again, and will all be going through something else together -- their first home openers as Ducks.

I stopped Cogliano in the locker room today and asked him if the players feel the same kind of buzz for a home opener that the fans feel. "For sure," he said. "You start your first game here, you want to show yourself well and have a good game. It's going to be exciting. It's something new for me. I'm not used to a home opener here and seeing how the fans react. I can tell there is excitement for the season and they know there is a good team here.

"It's San Jose on a Friday night, so it's even a little more exciting. It's going to be a good night."

Glad we're in agreement on that.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48

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