While the Ducks look to bounce back from an 0-2 road trip at Dallas and St. Louis, they’ll again have to do it shorthanded tonight against the Coyotes. Already losing defenseman Mathieu Schneider to a broken bone in his ankle for the entire regular season and Todd Bertuzzi to a concussion suffered Oct. 14, Anaheim will be missing forwards Rob Niedermayer and Ryan Getzlaf for the second straight game.
Niedermayer suffered a pull groin that caused him to leave early from the morning skate prior to the St. Louis game on Tuesday night. Getzlaf strained his forearm in the second period of that game when his wrist bent awkwardly against the body of Blues forward David Backes.
“I hit the player and my wrist bent like that,” Getzlaf said, demonstrating with his uninjured arm his wrist bending backward. “We’re just going day to day with it right now and hold it out for tonight. We’re hoping for Sunday. It’s more like days, not weeks.”
Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said that MRIs on both players “revealed no severe damage beyond strains or bruises in both cases.”
Bertuzzi has participated in practice the last couple of days, saying “The fact that I’ve had a couple of days without any symptoms has been nice. Hopefully it continues to progress and I get back as soon as I can.” Carlyle announced after the morning skate today that Bertuzzi needs to undergo a neurological examination “within the next couple of days.”
To make up for their losses at forward, the Ducks brought up Petteri Wirtanen and Jason King from Portland. Wirtanen had the game-winning goal in his NHL debut with the Ducks, a 3-1 victory over Nashville on Oct. 17 (the Ducks’ last victory). King is scoreless in two games with Anaheim this year, but he was leading Portland in goals with five in six games.
“He’s provided offense there,” Carlyle said. “This is another opportunity to step into our lineup and get a chance with our offensive players.”
Meanwhile, Schneider is getting closer to returning to action. “He’s being reevaluated today with the foot specialist,” Carlyle said, “and we’ll see if he’s cleared to skate.”
Carlyle admitted it has been a challenge to try and find offensive combinations to make up for the Ducks’ injury troubles and their lack of scoring as of late.
“The trouble is, injuries are part of your job and part of your decision-making day to day,” he said. “You have to find combinations among your players that are going to work and provide you with something. There isn’t necessarily always production from it from the standpoint of statistics, but you have to look at the ability to play sound and the ability to get in on the puck and be sound defensively, creating an offensive zone cycle, that kind of stuff. We’re not filling the net with goals, so we have to find the combination that will provide some offense. It’s been challenging from that aspect. But it’s part of your job.”
Carlyle did acknowledge that a win tonight against Phoenix would get the Ducks headed in the right direction. “But only for the night,” he said with a laugh. “For the coach. It’s a marathon and we always talk about that. We’re not in a sprint here.”