Andy McDonald has never skated on the Honda Center ice in anything but Anaheim Ducks attire. But tonight he will be wearing the blue and gold of the St. Louis Blues, and those Ducks who were teammates just a few months ago will now be the enemy.
The longest tenured Duck entering this season (by 12 days over Samuel Pahlsson and 13 over Jean-Sebastien Giguere), McDonald was dealt to the Blues on Dec. 14 in the trade that brought Doug Weight to Anaheim (among other considerations).
“The rumors started and there were a lot of names," said McDonald earlier this month on the Ducks having to trade someone to get Scott Niedermayer back in the lineup. “My name hadn't really been brought up. I guess I thought there may have been a possibility. But still, when I got that call, I was on my way over to play a hockey game and I was shocked.”
Contemplating his own comeback at the time, the now-returned Teemu Selanne was also stunned to see his good friend and linemate dealt to the Gateway City.
“When I heard it I thought it was a joke first,” Selanne said. It was sad to see him go.”
When he enters Honda Center for the first time in his career as a visitor tonight, McDonald said only good memories will come to mind. “I definitely took some big steps in my career (in Anaheim),” McDonald said. "I have nothing but positive things to think about.”
Ironically enough, the Ducks are missing Weight and two other centers – Todd Marchant and rookie Ryan Carter – tonight (and probably longer) because of injuries. As a result, Anaheim fans will likely be getting their first look at center Andrew Ebbett. Called up from Portland yesterday, the 25-year-old is excited to be making his NHL debut.
“I was hoping to at least get a shot here before the end of the season and I’m happy that it’s now,” said Ebbett, who was an AHL All-Star this season and was leading the Pirates with 55 points in 55 games. “I’m sure there will be nerves in warmups and while getting ready in the dressing room. Hopefully once the game starts and I get that first shift over with, it will be another game.”
Unfortunately, Ducks fans will not get the chance to cheer on another mustached player as Ebbett, who like his Portland teammates had been sporting the look as part of National Mustache Month, decided to go shave it off for his debut.
“I had been growing it since the start of the month and it wasn’t looking so good,” Ebbett said. “I talked with a couple of the guys in Portland and we decided my debut shouldn’t be with a mustache.”
Ebbett’s promotion was made necessary by the injuries suffered by Marchant (strained shoulder) and Carter (fractured wrist) against Colorado on Wednesday.
While Marchant remains day-to-day, Carter continues to get bad news about his injury. Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said the rookie will have to have surgery on the right wrist and get pins inserted to correct chips that were found during an MRI examination.
“I felt when I came off the ice that something was broken,” Carter recalled of his wrist being injured while jammed into the camera hole on the glass. “I was afraid to take my glove off and see my arm (dangling). It looked fine, so I didn’t know at first. All in all it’s just a weird accident.”