Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm is close to making his season debut. How do we know? He told us so.
The highly skilled two-way defenseman took part in yet another full practice and saw time on the second power-play unit with Brandon Montour for the second day in a row.
"I feel really close," the 23-year-old defenseman said today. "It's just about the little things like being comfortable battling and feeling strong in all positions."
Lindholm and fellow blueliner Sami Vatanen underwent shoulder surgeries on May 30 and both have been active participants in practice as of late. One last hurdle for Lindholm, specifically, is being able to engage physically without hesitation or discomfort.
"That's the last test for me," he said. "That's a big part of my game and I want to be 100 percent confident when I get out there."
Lindholm is understandably chomping at the bit to play again. It's been five months since he last stepped foot onto the ice for a game, but he understands there is a fine line when recovering from major surgery. Sometimes the fastest way isn't always the best way.
"You don't want to be too quick, but you want to be," he said. "I've played with an injured shoulder in the playoffs. When you get close like this, you want to play games. You don't want to be skating around. It's going to be fun when I finally get out there."
His exact return date remains to be seen, though head coach Randy Carlyle dropped an Easter egg of sorts today in his post-practice media scrum. When asked if any of the injured Ducks will be available for the game against the Montreal Canadiens, Carlyle said a decision would made on two of them tomorrow after the morning skate.
Carlyle also said it's "very doubtful" Ryan Getzlaf or Patrick Eaves play tomorrow. Both skaters missed a second consecutive day of practice as they continue to recover from lower-body injuries. However, Ondrej Kase, who suffered an upper-body injury on October 9 vs. the Calgary Flames, appears close to returning after missing the past three games.
Video: Hampus Lindholm talks about his potential return
Updates on Miller, Perry
Veteran goaltender Ryan Miller says he is seeing improvement with every passing day. The 37-year-old netminder has yet to dress this season, but he could be an option over the next 10 days, which includes a four-game road trip that begins next Tuesday in Philadelphia. Miller was one of three goaltenders on the ice today (also John Gibson and Reto Berra).
"The one thing mentally that kind of weighs on you is you want to build that rapport and trust with the guys, and it's hard to do when it's not in the games," Miller said. "This is a nice group. I've been trying to work hard and be around so I can be a part of things."
Corey Perry was back on the ice today after leaving practice abruptly yesterday evening. While on a power-play drill, Perry took a puck to the mouth area and immediately exited the ice with a towel.
Video: Ryan Miller on a potential return