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Ducks Get in Valuable Practice Time with Homestand

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks completed their second consecutive day of practice earlier this afternoon - unique for a team that spent the better part of December away from Honda Center. But this practice - like the one yesterday - was held without captain Ryan Getzlaf, who remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.

According to assistant coach Paul MacLean, Getzlaf received treatment for the injury today, but saw improvement from yesterday. As for now, the 31-year-old's status remains day to day.

"If he's ready to play, he'll play," MacLean said on Getzlaf's availability for tomorrow's game against the Detroit Red Wings. "There was improvement today, so that's a positive. We'll come in tomorrow and see where he is." Getzlaf leads the team with 25 assists and ranks second in points (30) despite missing three games this season.

If Getzlaf can't play tomorrow, then it's likely Chris Wagner draws into the lineup. The 25-year-old was recalled earlier this morning from the San Diego Gulls, where he's earned six points (4g/2a) in 11 games since making his AHL season debut on November 27. After getting in work on one of the two penalty-killing units today, Wagner took rushes on the fourth line with Logan Shaw and Jared Boll.

Another tweak in practice included Joseph Cramarossa getting bumped up to a line with Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry. Cramarossa had been on the fourth line previously. The trio of Nick Ritchie, Antoine Vermette and Ondrej Kase were reunited as well. Rookie defenseman Brandon Montour saw extensive time on the second power-play unit alongside Hampus Lindholm, while Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen anchored the point on the other. After being a healthy scratch in Sunday's game, we'll see if Montour draws into the lineup tomorrow. He didn't look overwhelmed or out of place in his first two NHL games last week.

Video: MacLean on Chris Wagner's recall and today's practice

Talking About Practice
One of the luxuries of being home for an extended period of time is the ability to get in real practices, and we're not referring to pregame skates. Class was definitely in session today, as the coaching staff had the players on the ice for nearly 90 minutes.

MacLean pointed out the club's recent work in the defensive zone as an area that needed to be worked on. Known as a team that prides itself on its defense, the Ducks have had a few clunkers over the last little while and were under siege for most of the game on Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Now that we've gotten through the Christmas season, we're entering a point where our schedule might not be as demanding," said MacLean. "We want to get our game heading into the All-Star break to a good place through practice. We need to get the details of our game down. There were parts of the game we needed to be better at."

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