Now that the bye week has come and gone, it's time to get down to business.
Just after the Ducks hit the ice for an afternoon practice at Honda Center, it was announced that the club had signed veteran left wing Andrew Cogliano to a three-year contract extension that kicks in next season and runs through 2020-21.
As a symbol of work ethic and leadership, Cogliano currently owns the fourth-longest consecutive games played streak in NHL history (829), having never missed a game in his NHL career. What you see is what you get with the 30-year-old Toronto, Ontario native, who has been a valuable part of Anaheim's heralded shutdown line with Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg.
Cogliano, who would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer, said his mindset was to play out the season and see where things went, hoping he would earn another contract with the Ducks. In the end, it all worked out.
"It happened pretty quickly," he said. "It was a good [bye week] break in general with getting some rest and getting a call from Bob [Murray]. It happened over a day or two. My first option was to remain here and be a Duck, continue my career here. I ended up getting what I wanted."
His head coach spoke highly of his leadership qualities and his commitment to being a positive role model in the locker room, especially with the younger players. "His leadership is demonstrated by his work ethic," Randy Carlyle said. "He shows you how committed he is with his presence in the weight room, on the ice, supporting the younger players and his Iron Man streak. It's easy to vote for people like that because their values and your values align as far as an organization."
Video: Cogliano discusses his three-year contract extension
Bye, Bye, Bye
The Ducks had their full lineup at practice today as they prepared for their game tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Kesler, who has only recently started playing after offseason hip surgery, took rushes with his usual linemates Cogliano and Silfverberg.
Corey Perry took rushes with Rickard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf. Perry missed 11 games with a knee injury before returning to the lineup on January 6 against the Calgary Flames.
Ondrej Kase and Jared Boll were recalled from the San Diego Gulls earlier today, and it appears both might play tomorrow night in LA. Kase skated with Nick Ritchie and Adam Henrique, while Boll took rushes with Antoine Vermette and Chris Wagner. The "extras" were forwards Derek Grant, Logan Shaw and defenseman Korbinian Holzer.
Second Half Surge?
Can the Ducks get red hot like they have done seemingly every season since 2005-06? If the trend continues, they should. The Ducks have a knack for getting on a roll once the second half kicks in, and they really don't have a choice this time around if they want to make their sixth consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The players know what needs to be done. And with a full lineup for nearly the first time all season, the time is now to make a run.
"Certainly no excuses now," said defenseman Cam Fowler. "We have a full, healthy group, a veteran group with lots of experience. We need to make sure we start getting the ball rolling in the proper direction because we're going to have to, and it's going to have to happen quickly."
"We've had our ups and downs this year, but we want to stay consistent and keep building as a team," said Rakell, who later this month will make his NHL All-Star Game debut. "It's so close in the standings right now. Especially with our schedule coming up, it feels like every other game is a divisional game. We really want to step on the gas and make sure we keep getting better."