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Making Themselves at Home

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Matt Vevoda

AnaheimDucks.com


“We’re finding our stride now and hopefully we’ll turn the corner here," Voros said. "We have to win games and we have a good enough team in here to win games.”
There hasn’t been much time to enjoy some home cooking early in the season for the Ducks, with seven of the club’s first 10 games coming on the road.

That is finally about to change, as Anaheim is back to play six of its next eight games at Honda Center,  beginning with tomorrow night’s tilt against the New Jersey Devils. The Ducks, in fact, will not leave the state of California for more than two weeks, as their only games away from home will be two quick visits to division rival San Jose.

“It’s nice to get home and stay home for a little bit,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We were on the road for our first three and went back out for four more. It just seemed like we had a little pit stop at home, just enough to do our laundry.”

The short three-game span the Ducks did play at home from Oct. 13-17 went well, as they went 2-0-1 in those games (with the wins coming over Vancouver and Phoenix – two playoff teams from one season ago). Back from the road with a 4-5-1 record (nine points) overall, the team hopes to utilize this time at home as a springboard in the Western Conference standings.

“I don’t remember the travel being as crazy, especially at the start here,” forward Aaron Voros said. “We’re finding our stride now and hopefully we’ll turn the corner here. We have to win games and we have a good enough team in here to win games.”

Voros could be a key component for the Ducks in the coming days. In light of Matt Beleskey’s concussion in the team’s 5-2 victory at Dallas on Tuesday, Voros was practicing on the top forward line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

“I don’t have headaches, blurred vision and lights aren’t bothering me,” said Beleskey of his concussion. “It definitely could be worse. You have to take the precautions when something like that happens. It is just a matter of time, getting some rest and going from there.”
The 6-4 winger, who said he has spent time in the past on scoring lines in Minnesota (with Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra in 2007-08) and with the New York Rangers (with Brandon Dubinsky and Nikolai Zherdev two seasons ago), feels his job is similar regardless of who he is skating with on any given night. 

“I’ve gone up and down the lineup throughout my career,” Voros said. “You have to play the same way, bring energy and create space for the guys. I’m realistic. There are injuries. I think I’m a bit of versatile player. Hopefully, I can step my game up and those guys can continue on without a hitch.”

Beleskey was in the locker room after practice and reported being sore, particularly in the neck and back, as a result of a check from Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas in the third period at Dallas. But he was not feeling any other symptoms associated with a concussion, which he had never had before in his career.

“I don’t have headaches, blurred vision and lights aren’t bothering me,” the 22-year-old winger said. “It definitely could be worse. You have to take the precautions when something like that happens. It is just a matter of time, getting some rest and going from there.”

“We love playing at home,” Perry said. “We’ve been on the road for a little while. It’s going to be nice to be home and get some games under our belt."
The injury to Beleskey was the latest in a handful for the Ducks in the early season. He joins Dan Sexton (broken nose), Cam Fowler (broken nose and stiff neck) and Andy Sutton (broken thumb) on the list of players to get hurt since the start of the season.

After missing the last four games with his injury, Fowler might be back in the lineup as early as Friday. The rookie defenseman skated prior to and during parts of the full practice. Without him, the club is down to 18 healthy skaters. With back-to-back games in the next two days, a player might be recalled from Syracuse for added depth.

“It’s quite possible that could happen,” Carlyle said. “We don’t need a forward, but if we have somebody who gets sick or an injury tomorrow, then it puts us in a bind to get somebody here for Saturday at San Jose. We’re right at our minimum bodies.”

Getting those bodies (both injured and not) back home in Orange County is the most pleasing aspect for the Ducks, and they will look to quickly utilize this time to their advantage. “We love playing at home,” Corey Perry said. “We’ve been on the road for a little while. It’s going to be nice to be home and get some games under our belt.

“Injuries are tough, but it’s part of the game. It happens. You just deal with it and move on. Guys have to step at different times of the year and one of those times is right now. We have a few guys out who are big players on this team and contribute a lot. We just have to pick it up for them.”
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