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A Long Wait

With an agonizing four days between games, the Ducks are itching to get back to action and try to right the ship

Thursday, 10.29.2009 / 2:46 PM PT / Features
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A Long Wait
By Matt Vevoda

"We'd rather be playing because you carry these things for days," Carlyle said. "Mentally, it drags on you when you're not having success. But that is where the strong people come to the forefront."
For a team struggling and desperate to establish an identity, right now the Ducks feel like they’ve had too much time off.

Following a disappointing loss Monday night to previously winless Toronto, the Ducks have had to wait four days for their next game, Friday vs. Vancouver. It has seemed like an eternity for a team looking to halt a frustrating four-game losing streak.

“We’d rather be playing because you carry these things for days,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Mentally, it drags on you when you’re not having success. But that is where the strong people come to the forefront. The schedule never seems to do you any favors. You’re not happy when you have to play too many games and not happy when you’re not playing enough. There are quirks in it that you don’t like, but that is the way it goes.”

But while players and coaches are itching to get back into action, they also understand the rest will soon come in handy. After tomorrow night’s game against the Canucks at Honda Center, the team will play at Phoenix on Saturday followed by three home games in six nights next week.

“Definitely in our situation, it would be easier if we played more games,” Jonas Hiller said. “On the other hand, we’ll take the rest and those days. It’s going to be better next week. We have back-to-back games coming up and not much break in between games. We are looking forward to that and hopefully that will help us.”

There has been a lot of studying by both the coaches and the players the past two days at practice, as they try to figure out how to get back on the winning track. Carlyle said his biggest message to the team has been the importance of not straying away from the system they have in place.

"I definitely think I can play better," Hiller said. "I had a decent start, but have had some tough games. I can't say I'm happy with the way I've played. I'm trying my best to get better games going. Hopefully I can help out the team and we get out of this bad stretch as soon as possible."
“We’ve made mistakes with the puck in the neutral area and in the offensive blue lines where we feel we should be playing a simpler game versus trying to create a high-risk, high-reward play,” Carlyle said. “We’ve done far too much of that. We counted in the first period the other night that we made six of those decisions that were ill-timed.”

Carlyle also feels that his team needs to be the one that dictates the play, that they have been spending far too much time in their own zone during this dry spell. “It’s a lot more fun playing in the opposition’s zone than playing in your zone. More pucks need to be directed at the net and there has to be more net presence. The battle level and compete level has to go up. We have to execute to a higher level to give ourselves a chance.”

Even more eager for the team’s next game is Hiller. After starting the year with a 3-1-0 record, the 27-year-old netminder has dropped three straight and surrendered a career-high six goals against (five which came with the Ducks on the penalty kill) in his last outing against the Maple Leafs. He gets a chance at redemption, along with the rest of the Ducks, on Friday.

“As soon as possible, you want to prove that was a bad night,” Hiller said. “I definitely think I can play better. I had a decent start, but have had some tough games. I can’t say I’m happy with the way I’ve played. I’m trying my best to get better games going. Hopefully I can help out the team and we get out of this bad stretch as soon as possible.”

Injury Notes:
Ryan Carter (bruised foot) should be ready to go tomorrow night against the Canucks after missing the past two games. The fourth-line center has been out since taking a shot to his left skate during the morning skate prior to the Oct. 21 game against Dallas. 

"I'm not naming names, but I have his number," said Carter, jokingly of the teammate that fired the shot. "It's getting better."

Jean-Sebastien Giguere (strained groin) took the ice before practice with Ducks strength and conditioning coach Sean Skahan and also felt his status was improving. But the goaltender did not stick participate in practice and said they are going to take extra caution in his return from a the lingering injury.

“Even though there was a little bit of discomfort, there was no real big pain so that’s a good sign,” Giguere said. “Hopefully it’s going to keep improving over the next couple of days. We’re just going to see how it goes. We’ve got competent trainers here and medical staff so we’ll rely on them.”




1 DAL 56 36 15 5 182 150 77
2 CHI 59 36 18 5 162 137 77
3 STL 57 31 17 9 138 133 71
4 LAK 54 33 18 3 151 128 69
5 SJS 54 29 20 5 158 144 63
6 ANA 54 27 19 8 123 127 62
7 COL 58 29 25 4 155 160 62
8 NSH 56 26 21 9 147 148 61
9 ARI 55 25 24 6 144 168 56
10 MIN 55 23 22 10 135 138 56
11 VAN 55 22 21 12 127 149 56
12 CGY 54 25 26 3 144 160 53
13 WPG 55 25 27 3 140 158 53
14 EDM 57 22 29 6 139 169 50


R. Getzlaf 50 6 36 10 42
C. Perry 54 21 17 -4 38
R. Rakell 51 13 15 -3 28
R. Kesler 54 11 16 -7 27
S. Vatanen 54 6 20 0 26
J. Silfverberg 54 7 12 -1 19
C. Stewart 47 8 10 2 18
A. Cogliano 54 6 11 -9 17
H. Lindholm 53 6 8 -7 14
C. Fowler 41 3 11 -8 14
F. Andersen 12 8 6 .919 2.30
J. Gibson 12 8 2 .917 2.11

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