With fire blazing through much of Southern California, the Orange County home the Ducks returned to early Wednesday morning was markedly different from the one they departed last Friday for a two-game road trip.
Starting on Saturday, fires ripped through seven counties in the Southland, claiming several lives, thousands of homes and hundreds of thousands of acres in its path. Playing in Dallas on Saturday and St. Louis on Tuesday, all the Ducks could do was watch the destruction from television screens and offer family and friends encouragement over the phone.
“It’s difficult not knowing what’s going on, the uncertainty of everything,” Ducks captain Chris Pronger said. “You’re on the road and you can’t really do anything to help. You can’t do anything to support your family.”
Coach Randy Carlyle noted after Wednesday’s practice that the families of two Ducks players had to be evacuated as a result of the fires. As of Wednesday, the properties of the two Ducks have not been damaged and their families are doing okay.
“We’ve had players that their wives and children have had to check into hotels, so it affects us hands on,” Carlyle said. “These are difficult times.”
Brad May, who had friends evacuated from their homes in San Diego, said he was happy to see the help people were giving one another in times of despair.
“It’s amazing how when bad things like this happen, these disasters, how people come together,” May said. “I think it does us all a lot of good to recognize that we are neighbors and we should help out and treat the next guy well. Now that we’re back we have to focus on playing hockey, but if people need help, we’ve got to be there.”
- Tuesday night’s game against St. Louis was Todd Marchant’s 900th NHL game.
- On the injury front, Carlyle said Rob Niedermayer suffered a pulled groin that caused him to leave the morning skate early prior to the St. Louis game. Ryan Getzlaf has a forearm strain that he suffered two shifts into the second period of that game. Their status for returning to the ice was not indicated, however, Carlyle announced Petteri Wirtanen and Jason King were called up from Portland on Wednesday.
- Todd Bertuzzi (concussion) participated in Wednesday’s practice, the second-straight day in which he skated, after working out at Anaheim ICE on Tuesday. “I felt okay. The fact that I’ve had a couple of days without any symptoms has been nice,” Bertuzzi said. “Hopefully it continues to progress and I get back as soon as I can.”