The Boys Are Back in Town
By Matt Vevoda
|"There's no question we came together as a team on the ice," Brad May said of the road trip. "It was great. To be in New York City and get those three wins and finish it off in Detroit and Colorado was special."|
After 15 days of living like nomads on the longest continuous road trip in team history, the Ducks finally returned to their permanent residence at Honda Center for practice on Thursday. Although Thursday marked their first practice back in their friendly confines, the Ducks actually returned to Anaheim in the wee hours of Wednesday morning following their 2-1 victory at Colorado.
“That was a long trip home after Colorado because now you know you’re almost home,” George Parros said. “You still have to go through a 45-minute bus ride to the airport, then fly and then another 45-minute ride back from the airport, so that was pretty straining.”
Once back at home, the Ducks got the much-needed chance to relax and spend some time with loved ones with a day off on Wednesday.
“It was hard,” Bray May said. “I think we stayed in 10 or 11 hotels in 15 days. It was good to be home and nice to see my wife and kids.”
|Brad May talks more about the road trip in the latest edition of Duck Cast|
While the length of the trip was described by Jean-Sebastien Giguere as “just too long”, he and his teammates still fondly looked back at the memorable time. “I think we got a lot of positives out of this road trip hopefully,” said Giguere, who was in net for four of the five straight victories that concluded the trip. “The highlight was really as a team we came along and made some big strides. Going to the White House was a fun thing and something I’ll always remember, but we were still on that road trip to win some hockey games and that’s what we did.”
Added May, “There’s no question we came together as a team on the ice. It was a great. To be in New York City and get those three wins and finish it off in Detroit and Colorado was special.”
|"Playing at MSG was the highlight of the trip for me," said East Coast native George Parros. "I've been waiting for three years to play out there. It was awesome."|
For Parros, an East Coast native, getting to play among family and friends was an experience he’d longed for since entering the league in 2005.
“I’ve been waiting for three years to play out there,” Parros said. “It was very fun to play in front of some people I haven’t seen in a long time. I met up with some old high school and college teammates. Playing at MSG was the highlight of the trip for me. It was awesome.”
Back at Honda Center on Thursday, the Ducks were turning their attention toward the rest of the season, which will feature 14 of the final 21 games at home, including the next seven beginning Friday against Dallas.
“We’re in a situation where all these games are very important to us and we understand that,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Our group has played historically to a high level in this building. We’ve got good hockey teams coming in and the first one is the most important one and that’s Dallas. They’re four points ahead of us in the Pacific Division.”
Having made his much-anticipated return to the Ducks lineup during the road trip, 10-time All-Star Teemu Selanne will make his home debut Friday in front of what will undoubtedly be a highly charged sellout crowd.
“I have always had a great relationship with the fans here,” Selanne said. “We have a great past. The last time I played in this building is when we won the Cup, so it’s a lot of great memories in this building. This homestand right now, we’re going to start building the final confidence and momentum for the playoffs. I’m expecting a lot.”