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Lydman Possibly Returning This Weekend

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Matt Vevoda

AnaheimDucks.com


Anaheim’s blue line will be getting a big addition soon, possibly as early as Friday’s home opener, in the form of Toni Lydman.

“It was positive,” Lydman said. “Things are moving along and the mobility is getting better. Strength-wise, there is still a little work to do. But it’s getting real close.”
The sturdy defenseman, who was tied for second in the NHL last season with a plus-32 rating, has missed all of the exhibition games and the first two contests on the regular season docket because of right shoulder surgery performed back on May 2. Lydman, who had the procedure done to correct a torn labrum, met with doctors on Monday in Los Angeles and was cleared for contact.

“It was positive,” Lydman said. “Things are moving along and the mobility is getting better. Strength-wise, there is still a little work to do. But it’s getting real close.”

With Lydman able to fully participate in practice now, the next few days will be used to see how the shoulder adapts. If there are no setbacks, you could very well see No. 32 in a black jersey against the Sharks at Honda Center.

“He’s progressing well,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “He has worked very hard at it. We’ll make a decision during the morning skate on Friday if he will play that night or not. More than anything it will be, after being cleared for contact and participating in the physical drills, if he has any soreness or swelling in the joint tomorrow or the day after. That will be the test for it.”

The impact of Lydman on the Ducks cannot be understated. He is one half of the club’s top defense pairing with Lubomir Visnovsky and plays an integral part on the penalty kill. Along with that plus-32 rating, he led the team in blocked shots (178, also sixth in the league) and was third in average time on ice (22:10).

“It’s very important for me and the whole team,” said Visnovsky of Lydman’s impending return. He’s one of the best defensive defenseman. He always is in good position. I like playing with him because he coordinates for me in the defensive zone. He gives me confidence on the ice. I’m so happy he is back.”

“It’s very important for me and the whole team,” said Visnovsky of Lydman’s impending return. "He’s one of the best defensive defenseman. He always is in good position. I like playing with him because he coordinates for me in the defensive zone. He gives me confidence on the ice. I’m so happy he is back.”
The 34-year-old Finn missed all of training camp and the first four games of last season, his first with the Ducks, with an episode of acute double vision. But once he was able to debut with the club, he was in the lineup each and every night the rest of the way.

When Lydman is in the lineup, Carlyle has said he brings a “calming effect” to the club. The defenseman does feel more at ease on the ice, as opposed to being in the Ducks locker room watching the games on a television screen.

“I get more nervous watching the games,” Lydman said. “I know I should be more nervous playing probably, but that is not the case. It wasn’t that hard during the exhibition games. Now, it’s starting to get real hard.”

Those anxiety-filled moments, wishing he could help his teammates but being physically unable, will soon come to end. “It’s not the perfect situation by any means, jumping in with no exhibition games or anything,” Lydman said. “Even last year, there were some signs of rust. You just want to hide it as good as you can. The biggest thing is timing and reading the game. It’s been awhile since my last game in the playoffs. It will take a few shifts to get into game shape.”

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