Hiller Returns to Practice as Ducks Prepare for Friday
|PHOTOS FROM PRACTICE|
A familiar face was on the ice this afternoon, as goaltender Jonas Hiller – fresh off a strong Olympic performance for his native Switzerland – practiced with the Ducks for the first time since returning from Sochi.
The 32-year-old netminder finished the tournament ranked second in both SV% (.971%) and GAA (0.67), as the Swiss were eliminated by Latvia in the qualifier for medal play. Hiller posted two shutouts in three appearances (2-1-0), which tied for the tournament lead with Sweden’s Henrik Lundqvist and Canada’s Carey Price.
“You can’t really complain about shutouts, but I wasn’t 100-percent happy with the second Latvia game,” he said. “I kind of want that one back. But you can’t expect not to get scored on the whole tournament. At the end, we just weren’t good enough when it counted.”
The schedule immediately following the Olympics benefits Hiller and the six other Ducks Olympians. While most teams resume action on Wednesday and Thursday, the Ducks don’t play until Friday at home against the St. Louis Blues.
Hiller says those extra days off will allow the guys to readjust to the 12-hour time difference.
“Not [playing] until Friday allows us to get some rest and get rid of the jet lag,” he said. “Those extra two days are well worth it. For the fact I pretty much traveled around the world in the past 14 days, I feel pretty good right now. I’m excited to be back.”
Head coach Bruce Boudreau expects most of the guys on the ice Thursday, but says a few might try to skate on Wednesday.
“I think Teemu, Getzlaf and Perry’s first ice showing will probably be Thursday,” he said. “They’ll come here Wednesday, work out, and then get on the ice Thursday. The other guys are scheduled for Wednesday, but it could be as early as tomorrow.
“They look like they’re good,” he said. “They’re still on IR [injured reserve], but you don’t have to lift them until game time on Friday. They both feel like they’re ready to go.”
Viktor Fasth is currently in Norfolk on a long-term injury conditioning loan, and is scheduled to play Wednesday.
“It’s a day-by-day situation with him,” said Boudreau. “He hasn’t played since November 18 and he doesn’t want to come back not ready to play. He’ll play a couple games down there, and if he feels great, then great.”