Back to Work

The Ducks non-Olympians reunited at practice on Thursday after 10 days away from the game

Thursday, 02.25.2010 / 6:58 PM / Features
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Back to Work
By Matt Vevoda
AnaheimDucks.com


“It started to get pretty boring,” said Nokelainen of the 10-day break. “In the middle of the season, you don’t want to take too much time off. It’s good to get back and be skating.”
While several of their key players are readying for semifinal games tomorrow at the Olympics, the Ducks returned to practice on Thursday at The Rinks – Anaheim Ice.

It had been 10 days since the team last functioned as a unit, during a 7-3 victory at Edmonton on Feb. 14. The break was a time to unwind and heal up for the players, but it was also beginning to be too long for some.

“It started to get pretty boring,” Petteri Nokelainen said. “In the middle of the season, you don’t want to take too much time off. It’s good to get back and be skating.”

Eight players were noticeably absent from the locker room during the afternoon. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Scott Niedermayer of Canada; Bobby Ryan and Ryan Whitney of USA; Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu of Finland are all still taking part in the Olympics for their countries. Jonas Hiller is on his way back to the Ducks after he and Switzerland were eliminated by USA yesterday.

Untouched hockey gear hung from their respective stalls instead at the practice facility. Yet, the Olympians were still very much on the minds of their teammates following the more than one hour practice.

“It’s awesome seeing those guys play for their country,” said rookie Dan Sexton, who was recalled by the Ducks, along with three others on Thursday. “They are all such good guys and deserve it so much. They are playing big roles on their teams. To see them do so well, it’s awesome. These next two games are going to be great to watch. The championship and bronze medal game, no matter what happens in those, those guys had a good run.”

“When I got sent back down, I wanted to do well," said Sexton, who was recalled on Thursday. "I didn’t want to struggle there or have any lapse in concentration. I wanted to do the same things that made me successful here. When I did those, I was really pleased.”
With those players currently absent from the Ducks, the team has brought up Sexton, defensemen Brett Festerling and Brendan Mikkelson and goaltender Timo Pielmeier. Some will be given the opportunity to stay even when that group returns from the Olympics.

For Sexton, it was a return he had looked forward to since being sent down to Manitoba of the AHL on Jan. 31, the day the Ducks acquired Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala in a trade from Toronto. With the rookie playing well (nine goals, 18 points in 28 games), Executive VP and GM Bob Murray acknowledged the difficultly of having to send him down at the time.

“It’s a tough one,” Murray said then. “We have a few too many forwards. Dan Sexton will be back and I told him so. He’s going to be in the minors at this point, but he will return.”

That indeed held true, as Sexton has been brought back up to the big-league club more than three weeks later. He was pleased with his progress in the time away. “When I got sent back down, I wanted to do well. I didn’t want to struggle there or have any lapse in concentration. I wanted to do the same things that made me successful here. When I did those, I was really pleased.”

“It’s been good, entertaining hockey," said the Minnesota-born Carter of the Olympics “I have teammates and friends on three teams. At the end of the day, I have to root for the red, white…and blue.”
The practice was the first step forward in getting the team assembled again for the stretch run, 20 games which the Ducks hope ends with another postseason berth. When everyone does come back to the team, they face a playoff picture that has them two points out of the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

But for now, while the non-Olympians start to get their legs back, they will also put plenty of attention on Vancouver and Canada Hockey Place. That is where the semifinals – pitting USA vs. Finland and Canada vs. Slovakia get underway tomorrow.

“I’m cheering for them and hopefully those guys can bring it home,” said Nokelainen, a Finland native. “They don’t have an Olympic gold medal. They have pretty much everything else. A guy like Teemu has a Stanley Cup and every personal trophy there pretty much is. That is one of the biggest reasons he came back from retirement.”

Said Minnesota-born Ryan Carter, “It’s been good, entertaining hockey. “I have teammates and friends on three teams. At the end of the day, I have to root for the red, white…and blue.”

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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