By Kyle Shohara
One word can summarize today’s practice: brisk.
After having two days off following Monday’s victory over Columbus, the Ducks took part in what head coach Bruce Boudreau described as a “conditioning skate.”
The practice was short (only 75 minutes) but high in intensity.
Defenseman Cam Fowler participated in practice for the first time since being injured on Feb. 2.
On Fowler: “He looked fine. We’ll see how he comes out of it. It was a fairly good skate for them. I haven’t been told whether he’s going to play or not, but we’ll find out by tomorrow.”
On today’s practice: “They had a couple of days off and today was a conditioning day. There was no system work or anything else. It was a conditioning down-and-back day for an hour-fifteen.”
On the decision to give the team two consecutive days off: “I didn’t know whether to take one day off, practice, then give them another day off. But five days of straight practice might’ve worn them out more than the games do. Some of our guys aren’t 21 years old. I think rest is better. That’s why we did a hard skate today to make sure their conditioning is where it should be, and they came through. At the end, that’s a tough skate.”
On the team’s success: “I’m pleasantly surprised. But at the same time, I fully believe that we’re going to do good right from the start of the year. I think if you don’t have that mental approach, then you’re in trouble.”
Peter Holland sat in his stall with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands, still feeling the effects of today’s conditioning skate. But the 22-year-old said it’s all part of creating the team’s identity.
“This practice was just making sure the guys were in shape. We talk about having strong third periods and we want to make that our identity, and that comes with being one of the best conditioned teams in the league.”
On the benefit of having days off: “It helps with the body, but a huge part of it is the mental break that you can take from the rink. I know people think we’re robots and come to the rink and we’re able to play the game at the top level every night. But it’s a big thing to rest the body and mind and step away. Spend time with your family or your friends for some of the older guys. Or just have some rest for the younger guys who don’t have families of their own yet. Those days off are definitely critical.”
Holland told me that he went to catch a movie on his day off. After some reluctance, he told me he saw Safe Haven. “It’s just a little bit of my soft side coming out,” he laughed.
Beleskey – Getzlaf – Perry
Winnik – Bonino – Selanne
Cogliano – Holland – Ryan
Staubitz – Maroon – Palmieri
Souray - Beauchemin
Lydman – Lovejoy
Fowler – Sbisa – Allen
NOTE: Saku Koivu was not on the ice today because of flu-like symptoms, according to Boudreau.
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