Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller
, who missed most of the last three months of the 2010-11 season with symptoms related to vertigo, has been training on and off the ice the past month in Switzerland. Hiller is symptom-free and expected to be ready for training camp.
Said Hiller: "I'm very excited about the upcoming season. I'm happy to be feeling better and looking forward to getting back with my teammates. It’s been a long process, but I feel great and I’m ready to help this team win."
The Ducks open training camp on Saturday, Sept. 17 at THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE.
Hiller had a 2.56 goals-against average and .924 save percentage through 26 games last season and played in his first All-Star Game. In his first game after the All-Star break, he gave up three goals on 10 shots and was pulled from a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on February 2.
After sitting out three games, he returned to shut out Edmonton on 12 shots in a 4-0 win on February 13, but felt symptoms again and sat out another 16 games. He returned March 24 in Nashville and was removed from the game after allowing three goals on nine shots in a 5-4 loss. He didn't play the rest of the season.
Hiller spoke to reporters via conference call Friday afternoon from his home in Switzerland. Following is a transcript:
I’m doing well. It’s getting a little later here in Switzerland, but I had another good day. It is nice, beautiful weather here in Switzerland right now. I’m definitely enjoying being back at home. I saw some family and friends today. On when his symptoms stopped
It’s tough to say. Going back on the ice was what made me a little nervous at least. I had goalie camp with Francois Allaire I always go to. I went back on the ice and felt pretty good right off the bat. I had some better days and some days where I was a little so-so. But I never felt like I was off a lot. I have been skating with the team here (SC Bern) in Switzerland and day-by-day it got better. It was just great to feel better. I can’t really put a date on it. But pretty much for the last month and a half when I have been skating, it has been progressing. At some point, I pretty much have to say I am where I used to be. On his comfort level being in a game
I haven’t played games for quite a while now, so I can’t make any promises. I’m feeling great in practice. I see the puck well. I’m definitely looking forward to being back playing as soon as possible.On the speed of his current practices
It was great for me because I started with the goalie camp with Francois Allaire. A lot of stuff there was really basic. It built up during the week. We had some pretty good drills by the end of the week. I had another week or so of rest. Then we started slowly skating with the team. We had some scrimmages in the first week. Then, they started building up too. The intensity is already quite high in their practice because they are starting the season pretty soon here. They are already getting game-ready. It’s great for me to be able to skate with those guys. They have to be ready earlier than us. It’s definitely comparable to practice in the NHL.On seeing doctors in Switzerland
I went back home and saw another couple of doctors. It helped me because it’s always easier to explain stuff in your main language than another language. I got some second opinions, but nobody could really exactly tell me where it was coming from. Everybody was saying it could be a few things, but nobody was really able to put their finger on it. It was frustrating, especially for the future. I wish I would know what exactly happened to prevent it from coming up again. I definitely hope it’s a one-time thing. If it is, I don’t really care what actually caused it.On his confidence that it will not return
I can’t think too much about it. Sure, it’s tough to just put away because I missed quite a few games because of it. At the same time, I’m doing everything right and I’m working hard. I did a lot of stuff to get better this summer and it helped. I stopped thinking too much about it. You can’t totally blank it out, but I’m not worried about it.
Sure, I wish I would know what caused it just to prevent it in the future. I’m just happy I’m feeling better. So far nobody could tell me. If somebody can tell me at some point, it’s cool. If not, it’s not going to change how I feel right now. I’m feeling good and that makes me happy.On getting back into All-Star form
I hope it’s the first game of the season. If I play, I want to play at my best. I don’t think it makes sense to go out there and just play at 80 or 90 percent. If go on the ice, I have to feel comfortable that I can play at my best. My best last year was just before the All-Star break. I want to get back there as soon as possible. If it’s possible in the first game, I don’t know. I definitely think being back on the ice and just being able to play games is a lot of fun.On having to sit out during the playoff run
It was really tough, especially at the beginning because nobody could tell me what it was. At the same time, I felt like I had to be back. I couldn’t let my teammates and the team down. It was frustrating. I was pushing every day and every day it was a disappointment because it wasn’t where I wanted to be at. It was definitely a really tough time for me. Mentally, I was trying to stay positive, keep working and trying. You want to be positive for your teammates and hope they win. It’s frustrating because you can’t help them and you wish you were out there.
If your team is playing for last place, you probably wouldn’t mind that much not being there. I definitely saw the potential and guys playing well. It was tough not being able to be part of it. I felt like there was a lot possible in the playoffs. It was tough just to watch and wishing I could be on the ice. I thought leading up to the All-Star break, I showed I was able to help the team in quite a few games and was able to steal some games. I was hoping to be able to do that in the playoffs too. It was tough to just watch the guys.On any concerns about his career
I wasn’t really concerned about my career. I was more concerned that normally if I want something really bad, I can just try a little harder and somehow I get there. In this situation, it was just frustrating for me that I was pushing and trying and it was gone. It was a new situation for me. It’s tough and you have a lot of time if you are not playing. You’re in the doctor’s office, waiting for the appointment, you have a lot of time to think about what is going to happen. I always tried to not think about it too much. I got a lot of feedback from doctors saying whatever caused it was just going to be a matter of time, your brain is going to adapt to it and it’s not going to be an issue. The frustrating part was that nobody could really tell me how long it was going to take. It pretty much depends on who it is. Every person is different handling these situations and symptoms. I had to realize that it wasn’t a one-day or one-week thing. It was a half-year thing. I’m definitely glad I’m feeling way better. I’m excited and looking forward to being back on the ice.On getting away from the rink
Just getting away was good for me mentally. I was pretty hard on myself. It was frustrating being at the rink every day and still not feeling like you were getting closer to playing. Getting away to stop thinking and worrying about it, it helped me a lot. I spent another couple of weeks in the U.S. right after the season. I went to Hawaii for two weeks with my girlfriend. I thought about a lot of other stuff besides hockey. I was able to calm down a little bit. There was so much going on before and so much stress all the time. I just needed that. After that, I went back to Switzerland and started working out again. I was glad I had not issues with the workouts. I felt pretty strong right away. I have a high pace in the gym, on the bike or running. That gives me a good feeling and confidence that I’m getting ready for the season. I started skating mid-July with Frankie [Allaire]. I’m happy the on-ice stuff also went well and that I’m feeling right.