After having a day off yesterday, the Ducks were back at it this morning in preparation for tomorrow’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Cam Fowler (upper body) skated on his own prior to practice and head coach Bruce Boudreau said the earliest he can play is Friday in Calgary. “It’s not going to take Cam a long time to get back into game readiness once he’s cleared for contact,” said Boudreau.
Nick Bonino (lower body) skated with the team and continues to show progress. “He practiced full today,” said Boudreau. “Now it’s just getting him ready and getting him in shape. He’s not cleared to play yet, but he’s cleared to practice with full contact.
“The goal is for him to play at least two or three games before the playoffs begin.”
Bonino said it’ll be important for him to get a couple regular season games in before the postseason begins. “Even just skating [today], my first full practice, I was sucking wind a little bit,” he said after practice. “I didn’t really anticipate it’ll take too long to get back up there, but it’s definitely good to get some games before getting thrown into the fire.”
Not on the ice, however, was Luca Sbisa, who Boudreau describes as “day-to-day.” Adds Boudreau, “When you’re a defenseman and you hit a lot, you just get sore. So we thought one or two more days might be better for him, so he’s questionable [for tomorrow’s game].”
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Boudreau: “They’re both under emergency [recall]. We just didn’t know with Cam’s situation and Luca’s situation what our deal was. Better be safe than sorry because they’re on the east coast. They were staying in Boston [with Norfolk]. You never know how the flights are there in the next day or two.”
ON THE COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Boudreau, on what impresses him about Columbus: “They’re never-quit, their willingness to do what it takes to win, their belief they can make the playoffs. All of those things. I’ve been in their shoes. It can be a lot of fun for them. Last night, they’re down 3-2, Colorado scores with [two minutes to go], and you think 'The game’s lost, maybe they’ll be deflated when they get in here.’ But they score with [a minute and a half left], then they score in overtime. They truly believe. That’s what’s going to make them a difficult team.”
Kyle Palmieri, on what it’s going to take to beat Columbus: “We’ve got to have a good first [period]. We’ve been trying these last couple of games to get out there and get on top of teams. It’s been inconsistent as far as our success in the first periods. That’s going to be huge for us tomorrow. They’re a team coming in here and coming into our building, and we’ve got to make it tough to play here at the Honda Center. We need to be right on top of them in the first five minutes, and maybe get a goal or two in that first period."
Palmieri, on what makes Columbus a dangerous team this season: “Their attitude. They’ve had that never-say-die attitude. [The last couple of years] have been real disappointing for them. But this year, with the shortened season, they came in confident and knew they could make a splash. In recent weeks, they’ve probably been one of the hottest teams in the NHL."
Palmieri, on the Ducks having motivation of their own: “We want to lock up home ice for the playoffs as soon as we can, and it’s all going to start tomorrow night against Columbus. We’ve got to keep trying to get back onto a roll that we were on in the beginning of the year, and have that kind of momentum going into the postseason”
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