Going under the knife for sports hernia surgery in late July made for one of the more trying offseasons yet for Ryan Getzlaf
as a Duck.
Correcting an injury that flared up during summer workouts, the procedure (performed in Philadelphia by Dr. William Meyers, who has also worked with Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Todd Marchant on similar injuries) caused the 25-year-old center to miss out on time he normally earmarks for conditioning himself for the upcoming season.
“It’s tough when you lost a pretty important month of August,” Getzlaf said. “It was just a big downer. When (the injury) is in your core, it’s not I like I could just do legs or just do arms. I couldn’t do anything. Everything you do involves your core.”
|"I was pretty excited to get back here, get after things and get back into the routing of playing, coming to the rink and being around the guys," Getzlaf said. |
The start of training camp has Anaheim’s leading scorer the past two seasons back to his jovial self, as it’s signaled his return to the ice. Getzlaf has not been partaking in scrimmages through the first two days of team workouts at The Rinks – Anaheim Ice, but he has been skating with his teammates in other activities. Thus far, things are progressing in the right direction.
“I was pretty excited to get back here, get after things and get back into the routine of playing, coming to the rink and being around the guys,” said Getzlaf, who finished sixth in the NHL with 91 points last season and was selected to his second All-Star Game. “I felt good after yesterday’s skate. Today, I’m feeling more and more comfortable with my stride and takeoffs.”
Having Getzlaf at full strength come the start of the 2009-10 regular season will certainly be critical for the Ducks, especially if they have designs on utilizing an attack of three scoring lines, which the deepened scoring punch on the Ducks has provided as a possibility.
For the majority of the last four seasons under the watchful eye of head coach Randy Carlyle, the Ducks have used a checking line to combat opposing team’s top lines. But things may be a bit different in the upcoming campaign.
|"It's a new role for our team to play line one against line one," Getzlaf said. "Any player will tell you that they want to play against the best players in the league." |
Anaheim’s No. 1 line of Getzaf, Corey Perry
and Bobby Ryan
developed late last season into a viable option against other team’s top lines, particularly in the Western Conference Quarterfinals against San Jose. That combined with the additions of new weapons in center Saku Koivu
and winger Joffrey Lupul could see a different Ducks attack on the horizon.
“I think that we haven’t really looked upon anything other than trying to create three offensive lines,” said Carlyle, who has guided the Ducks to a team-record four straight playoff berths. “Historically, we’ve played a checking line. With the emergence of Getzlaf, Perry and last year Bobby Ryan
, we felt that we could play those guys up against anybody’s so-called No.1 line in the league. That is a stepping stone. Are they going to be able to do it this year? We’re going to wait and see. But we think they’re capable of doing that.”
If that new philosophy sticks, Getzlaf would welcome the change. “It’s a new challenge for us every night and it’s great,” he said. “It’s a new role for our team to play line one against line one. Toward the end last year with injuries, it came time that we needed to play against those guys. It was a little different, but it was exciting. Any player will tell you that they want to play against the best players in the league.”
And that's exactly what opposing players do every time they go face to face with Getzlaf.