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Ducks Exterminate Injury Bug

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Matt Vevoda

For the first time this season the Ducks practiced injury-free on Tuesday, as the team finally exterminated the injury bug that had swarmed over at least one member of its roster since the start of the year.

The final Ducks to escape the injury report were Todd Bertuzzi (concussion) and Mathieu Schneider (sore hip), who each took part in practice before the team boarded an afternoon plane for Dallas.

While Schneider’s hip has only caused him to miss two games, Bertuzzi has been out of the lineup since Oct. 14, when the gritty veteran sustained a concussion via a hit from Minnesota’s Derek Boogaard.

“We have an opportunity to have Bertuzzi available if we choose to utilize him in Dallas,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We’ve missed his offense. We expect Bertuzzi to provide a level of offense that will give us more chances for success.”

Bertuzzi said he felt good on the ice, but a better gauge would come in games.

“The only true test is being on the ice in game situations and getting hit and backchecked and all that fun stuff,” Bertuzzi said. “I just got to go play hockey again and try to add some offensive help, whoever I play with.”

Also practicing with the Ducks on Tuesday for the first time after passing a physical was center Brian Sutherby, who was acquired from Washington on Monday for a second-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

“Today was certainly a learning experience,” Sutherby said following Tuesday’s practice. “I’m just happy to come here and get a fresh start. The guys here seem to be great and have made me feel at home.”

One familiar face for the 25-year-old center is Carlyle, who served as an assistant coach with the Capitals from 2002-2004, Sutherby’s first two years in the league.

“He had lots of promise as a young player, when I first saw him as a 20-year-old,” Carlyle said. “I know he’s a competitive kid. I know that he can skate and play that aggressive, forechecking game that we require. I know that he’ll stand up and defend his teammates and himself.”

For Sutherby, the similarities between his style of play and the Ducks added to his enthusiasm regarding the trade.

“What also added to the excitement was the type of hockey that is played here,” Sutherby said. “Of the guys that I respect around the league and in the game, there are a lot of them in this dressing room that go to work every night and battle and stick up for one another. I’m just going to try and be another part of that puzzle.”

It is a puzzle that for the Ducks is just starting to get complete.

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