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Macenauer Coming Down to the Wire Again

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Matt Vevoda

AnaheimDucks.com


It will come down to the wire for Maxime Macenauer in his quest to make the Ducks’ opening night roster, and that’s something he’s grown accustomed to.

“I learned a lot from last year,” Macenauer said. “I worked really hard this summer to make sure I was ready for camp. It’s a step forward. I’m just trying to keep going and do what I’m good at on the ice. From there, we’ll see what happens.”
The 22-year-old center from Quebec came awfully close to making the team out of camp last season, surviving until the final roster cut when he and former Duck Josh Green were the final players sent to AHL Syracuse. He would not get a call back the rest of the season, scoring 13 goals and 32 points in 79 games with the Crunch.

Fast-forward to the present in Anaheim and he finds himself on the brink of the NHL life once again. After another round of cuts yesterday, the roster for the Ducks currently stands at 30 players. With just two more exhibition games left at home and a Saturday team flight for Europe scheduled, time is closing in on those last few reassignments. Macenauer is hoping for a different fate this time around.

“I learned a lot from last year,” Macenauer said. “I worked really hard this summer to make sure I was ready for camp. It’s a step forward. I’m just trying to keep going and do what I’m good at on the ice. From there, we’ll see what happens.”

Watch comments from Macenauer in today's practice video

Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle likes that the center’s physical style of play and responsibility at both ends of the ice. As a result, Macenauer was given a long look in the last two preseason games (both Ducks wins). He averaged 17:10 of ice time in those contests and saw a good amount of action on the penalty kill.

“He showed up in excellent condition and he stepped right into playing,” Carlyle said. “We knew with his strengths that he would be a guy challenging. It’s just that he has to maintain for more than one, two or three weeks. He’s trial by fire in some of the situations. He has to continue to show us he can do it.”

Another spot where Carlyle said he likes Macenauer is in the faceoff circle, an area on the ice where the Ducks are eager for improvement in 2011-12. Last year, the club was tied for 25th in the league in faceoff percentage at 47.7 percent.

“He showed up in excellent condition and he stepped right into playing,” said Carlyle of Macenauer. “We knew with his strengths that he would be a guy challenging. He’s trial by fire in some of the situations. He has to continue to show us he can do it.”
“If they count on me in my zone or send me in at the end of a game, I have to make sure I am ready for those kinds of faceoffs,” said Macenauer, who won 54 percent (20-of-37) of his draws on the road against the Canucks and Kings. “I think I proved the last two games I can win a lot of faceoffs.”

Macenauer had a small hiccup early in training camp, when he suffered a groin strain on the second day of workouts at Honda Center. But luckily, the injury did not hamper him long and he was able to resume his pursuit of a roster spot within a couple of days.

During Tuesday’s practice, he was centering a line with other camp upstarts Andrew Gordon and Devante Smith-Pelly. That had been Andrew Cogliano’s spot the past two games, but Carlyle moved him back up to the second line with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu.

“What we did today is we moved Cogliano to a left wing position and moved Macenauer in there (with Gordon and Smith-Pelly), so we have basically a kid line going,” Carlyle said. “We’ll take a look at that a little bit. Who knows for tomorrow? We might keep that line together or break it up. We have different options.”

Said Macenauer, “I’m not making any plans in my head. I’m just doing my job. It’s normal as a human being trying to put yourself in a spot, but I’m trying not to do that. The Ducks know what they are doing. Hopefully, they will have a spot for me here.”

Notes:
For the first time this training camp, Matt Beleskey was not wearing a red jersey during practice because he has been cleared for contact. The forward is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery, as is Toni Lydman. The defenseman was still sporting red on Tuesday however, but is getting closer to a full return.

“We hope to be able to use (Beleskey) in these games going forward,” Carlyle said. “We trust Toni and he has practiced a lot with us. He’s not far away, but there is nothing like playing in game situations. You can practice all you want. There is going to be a certain amount of rust, but we trust his hockey knowledge, conditioning level and the type of player he is.”
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