Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie are both one step closer to returning to game action, and there's a chance that happens tomorrow night against the Calgary Flames. They took part in the team's full practice this afternoon at Honda Center after missing the past two games with respective upper-body injuries.
Head coach Randy Carlyle said both players will be re-evaluated tomorrow morning. "We'll do an assessment," he said. "It'll be contingent on them telling us they're ready to play. As with any injured player, we do what we feel is necessary to get them to a point. The last 10 percent is based on how they feel."
The Ducks had to do a fair bit of line juggling in their absence. Last night, rookie Michael Sgarbossa took Getzlaf's spot on the top line alongside Corey Perry, while Rickard Rakell replaced Ritchie at left wing. Sgarbossa filled in admirably and finished the game with an assist and three shots on goal in 16:34 time on ice. Rakell, meanwhile, posted a game-high three points (2g/1a) for his second three-point performance in three games since joining the Ducks.
And despite the team's recent string of wildly inconsistent performances (5-1 W last night, 5-1 L on Wednesday, 4-0 W on Tuesday, 4-0 L last Friday and a 6-1 W on October 26), Getzlaf knows not to rush himself back into the lineup.
"We have to be smart about things and not push things over the limit," he said. "Any time you have injuries, when you push them a little bit, you want to see how it reacts. We'll see in the morning."
Ritchie says he's starting to feel "a lot better" and is simply taking a day-by-day approach to his recovery. Ritchie was boarded by Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert in Anaheim's 4-0 victory on Tuesday, and the veteran blueliner was subsequently suspended three games.
"It was good to get out there and feel the puck," said Ritchie, who has two goals and three points in 10 games this season. "Step in the right direction. I'll see how I feel in the morning. Hopefully it won't be too much longer."
Also on the ice today was Ryan Kesler, who appeared no worse for wear after his fight with Coyotes left wing Max Domi last night. Kesler took rushes with his usual linemates Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg.
Perry did not practice, however, so it appears the club's leading scorer opted for a maintenance day.
As a reminder, tomorrow's game against the Flames begins at 6:30 p.m. - not the usual 5 p.m. start we're accustomed to on Sundays.