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Morning Rush

The Ducks had plenty of activity both on and off the ice the morning after a loss to the rival Kings

Wednesday, 12.02.2009 / 5:58 PM / Features
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Morning Rush
By Matt Vevoda
AnaheimDucks.com

A tough loss the night before to the Kings was almost forgotten in the bevy of morning activity for the Ducks on Wednesday, a day after their lengthy homestand finally came to a close.

“It was nice to be back out there with the guys,” Lupul said. "A week ago, there was no chance I could be out on the ice. A lot of will depend on how I feel tomorrow. I have to see how my body reacts. I have my fingers crossed. I really want to be back as soon as possible. This is a critical time of the year for us.”
On the team’s docket was the acquisition of center Kyle Chipchura from Montreal, defensemen Brett Festerling and Brendan Mikkelson swapping roster spots, Erik Christensen being claimed off waivers by the Rangers and a practice at The Rinks – Anaheim ICE. This all took place before the clock struck noon, at which time the Ducks departed for Dallas and the start of a quick two-game road trip.

Within that flurry, Anaheim also saw the return of Joffrey Lupul to the ice during the roughly one-hour practice. The winger has been out of action since the Nov. 19 game against Tampa Bay with back spasms, an injury that has lingered since training camp.

“It was nice to be back out there with the guys,” Lupul said. “A week ago, there was no chance I could be out on the ice. A lot of will depend on how I feel tomorrow. I have to see how my body reacts. I have my fingers crossed. I really want to be back as soon as possible. This is a critical time of the year for us.”

With a seven-game homestand (during which they posted a 4-2-1 record) in the books, the Ducks are facing a stretch where 12 of their next 16 will come on the road over the next month. Only ratcheting up the difficulty are five back-to-back scenarios in that timeframe, the first coming Thursday at Dallas and Friday at Minnesota.

“It’s very taxing,” Lupul said. "But that is why you have system in place. That is why it is in place for a game when maybe everyone is not at 100 percent from a physical standpoint. If you go out and play that team game perfectly, you can still win any night and overcome a lot.”

“He is someone we have had our eye for a couple of years,” said Murray of Chipchura. “He’s a good-sized kid, has a head for the game, is good in his own zone, is good at reading plays and on the penalty kill. He finds ways to win in many different ways.”
Despite the hard-luck losses the past two games, the team feels that some progress was made during their extended stay at Honda Center. “We can’t lose sight of the fact that our team has played better over the last while,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We’re going to have to ramp it up and get back to playing a stronger defensive game and executing to a higher level. That for sure was evident last night.”

Said Ducks Executive VP and GM Bob Murray, “There were some positives. Jiggy was outstanding. That is a good positive. The special teams improved. The lack of passion and wanting to come to the rink for the game against Phoenix still disturbs me. It was there last night. They wanted to play last night. It just didn’t go our way.”

By acquiring Chipchura from the Canadiens for a 2011 fourth-round pick, Murray brings another young player into the mix with a winning pedigree. The 23-year-old won a gold medal as the captain for Team Canada at the 2006 World Junior Championship and followed that up by winning the AHL Calder Cup title with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2007.

“He is someone we have had our eye for a couple of years,” Murray said. “He’s a good-sized kid, has a head for the game, is good in his own zone, is good at reading plays and on the penalty kill. He finds ways to win in many different ways.”

“Festerling has been a solid defenseman in the American Hockey League this season,” Carlyle said. “They were using him as their shutdown guy in San Antonio and they have been very happy with his progress in the Toronto Marlie organization."
Though Carlyle is not as familiar with Chipchura’s game yet, he does know Festerling, since the 23-year-old defenseman played 40 games with the Ducks last season. He has not played in Anaheim this season, splitting time in the AHL with San Antonio and more recently Toronto, where Mikkelson was sent down in his place.

“Festerling has been a solid defenseman in the American Hockey League this season,” Carlyle said. “They were using him as their shutdown guy in San Antonio and they have been very happy with his progress in the Toronto Marlie organization.

“Mikkelson, we felt, had struggled in the games as of late. He has a tremendous skill set. Right now, things seem to be going against them more than they are going for him. It’s about the ability for him to go down and play in the American Hockey League and to re-build some of the confidence that he displayed.”

Nestled in 13th place in the Western Conference with a 10-12-4 record and seven points out of playoff position, the Ducks still have a little way to climb. Whether it’s new Ducks or returning ones, the team will have do it through the holidays while mostly traveling. The first test awaits Thursday at American Airlines Center against the rival Stars.

“I’ve always been a believer that you focus on the first one,” Carlyle said. “That is the key. We’re looking to have success and we have to start in our first game.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48

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