A Wild Night
Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 9:40 AM PT
It's ironic that on the very same day Jonas Hiller showed off a new mask that honors all things mustache, George Parros almost got his knocked off his face.
Just before Ducks practice yesterday in St. Paul, Andrew Gordon took a shot that reportedly ricocheted off the goal post and struck Parros in the face. Parros suffered some cuts above the cheek and near his, well, mustache and had to get stitched up before returning to practice. Later he tweeted the photo at right and this message:
Thanks @AndrewGordon10 nothing like getting a puck in the face on a travel day practice….I’ll forgive you this time.
Georgie was able to show off the bandaged version of that face in this video where Ducks and Wild players discuss who rocks the better stache -- Parros or Cal Clutterbuck.
Parros appears to be fine for tonight's game with the Wild in Minnesota, and according to Randy Carlyle, in decent enough condition to do some fighting. “That’s all part of it,” Carlyle told the OC Register. ”They fight with black eyes. I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first time he’s had some sutures in his face and has to play. That’s the way it goes.”
The Ducks and Wild have an unenviable quality in common right now -- a difficulty scoring goals and a power play that just hasn't gotten going yet. Minnesota is 25th in the NHL with 2.00 goals scored per games (though they've always been more of a grind team), while the Ducks are 22nd at 2.13. Meanwhile, the Ducks come in 4 for 35 on the PP, and hope to get it on track against a Wild team that only Kills 76.0 percent of their penalties (the Ducks are at a solid 90.6%). Minnesota is just 3 for 31 on the power play so far.
All of that could be attributed to the Wild still getting used to each other in the early going, as they've brought in a new coach in Mike Yeo (pronounced "YO") and new forwards that include former Sharks Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. Yeo is reportedly trying something new tonight by dropping Setoguchi to the second line and having Clutterbuck join Heatley and Saku Koivu's brother Mikko on the top unit. Clutterbuck is known more as a hitter than a scorer, but the hope for Minnesota is that he creates room for Heatley and Koivu with some physicality and, let's face it, irritation. "He's really good at annoying people," Yeo said. "Hopefully, he can annoy their goalie, too."
If things go the way they did in practice yesterday, the Ducks will again use rookie Patrick Maroon -- who made his NHL debut in Chicago on Tuesday -- on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Bobby Ryan was again with Koivu and Teemu Selanne, while the New Guy Line of Gordon, Andrew Cogliano and Devante Smith-Pelly skated again. Smith-Pelly, who was out Tuesday with the flu is, according to Carlyle, a game-time decision after this morning eating his first solid foods since Monday.
Ducks fans may not realize it, since Xcel Energy Center isn't as terrifying as Joe Louis Arena or The Shark Tank, but the Ducks have had a tough time in Minnesota their last few trips there. The Wild have beaten Anaheim five straight times at home, despite the fact the Ducks have scored first in the last four games.