Anaheim is getting its captain back full-time.
|“Today was exciting,” Getzlaf said. “I felt pretty comfortable the last week here. Today was just that next step. I was able to get in there and play down low.” |
, who has missed the last 14 games with nasal fractures, took part in all of Monday’s practice at Honda Center and deemed himself “ready to play” in Wednesday night’s contest at Vancouver.
“Today was exciting,” Getzlaf said. “I felt pretty comfortable the last week here. Today was just that next step. I was able to get in there and play down low.”Watch video commentary on Getzlaf's return
The Ducks played well in his absence from the lineup, winning 10 of those 14 games. The club currently sits sixth in the Western Conference with 62 points (29-21-4). Head coach Randy Carlyle said the center will only help the team’s playoff push moving forward.
“He didn’t make the trips, but he has been here every day,” Carlyle said. “He’s been a big part of our team and participating behind the scenes. I do not foresee any time needed for him to slip him back into our lineup.
“We know the type of player he is. He has to be on the puck and keep his feet moving. He has to be Ryan Getzlaf
and that is the most important thing. We feel we have a world-class player and we’re going to challenge him to prove it in the first game.”
Both Carlyle and Getzlaf did not anticipate any limitations against the Canucks. Prior to his injury, the 25-year-old had totaled 37 points in 40 games and averaged 21:02 of ice time. He will return to centering the team’s top line and be an integral part of the power play unit.
“Now that he’s back in the lineup, we think that gives us more depth in scoring,” Carlyle said. He’s a big part of our team and is our captain. We know his compete level and conditioning level will be there. He’s ready to go.”
Said Getzlaf, “We’ve never really eased into anything before. Whatever we need, I’ll be there. I’ve been working hard the last three weeks and have been able to get myself back into shape. I will play as much as they need me to on Wednesday.”
As one key component to the Ducks attack re-emerges, another remained in limbo. Jonas Hiller
, who missed Saturday’s game at Colorado with light-headedness and fatigue, did not skate in practice again, and his inclusion on the rest of the road trip remained in doubt.
|“I need to continue to build on the things that have been working for me so far,” McElhinney said. “The last couple of games have gone well. The team is responding with me in the net. Hopefully it continues.” |
Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray said during practice that the goaltender was not experiencing any concussion symptoms and the team was working on getting the All-Star’s health back to 100 percent.
“We’re ruling out things as we go,” Murray said. “He feels a little bit better today, but we wanted to try something else today. He has gone to see the doctor. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. He was just talking to me. He says he feels fine, but just a little off. We don’t want to put a goalie in net, who is just a little off. “
Curtis McElhinney admirably filled in for Hiller against the Avalanche, stopping all 25 shots he faced for his second career shutout (the first came earlier this season on Nov. 10, a 1-0 win over the Islanders).
Getting time in net behind Hiller (second in the NHL with 47 games played) has been scarce. But in the 15 games McElhinney has been able to see some time, he has proven to be effective. Along with the two shutouts in that span, he has a 2.76 goals-against average and .916 save percentage thus far in 2010-11.
“I need to continue to build on the things that have been working for me so far,” McElhinney said. “The last couple of games have gone well. The team is responding with me in the net. Hopefully it continues.”
Said Murray, “Our goaltending here is good. We are really happy. It’s great for the team and it’s great for Curtis. These injuries, to Getzy and Jonas, are good for this team because they are bonding together.”