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Morning Report: Ducks Host Avalanche in Split-Squad Contest at Honda Center

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Kyle Shohara

Anaheim’s 2014 preseason officially begins tonight as the Ducks take on the Colorado Avalanche in a pair of split-squad contests. The road game at Pepsi Center begins at 6 p.m. PT, while the Ducks’ home contest begins at 7 p.m. Tonight’s games mark the first time the Ducks have played two games on the same night in 20 years of preseason competition. will stream the home radio broadcast, with Steve Carroll and Dan Wood calling the action.

It was normal game-day operations here at Honda Center, where the Ducks took part in their customary 30-minute morning skate. Manning the crease were goaltenders Frederik Andersen and John Gibson. Fans can expect to see 2014 first-round pick Nick Ritchie make his preseason debut tonight at Honda Center, as the big left winger took shifts with fellow former first-round picks Emerson Etem and Rickard Rakell.

The 18-year-old Ritchie admits there could be some nerves heading into tonight’s contest, but says his approach remains the same.

“It’s my first game, and I guess there would be nerves,” he said. “But it’s just like any other game. It’s hockey. It should be fun, and it’s going to be cool. We’ve got some great players playing tonight, so it’s going to be cool following them on the ice, working hard and having a good game.

“I’m just going to give it my all and play my game," he said. "That’s all I can really do. It’s everyone’s first game here. Hard work can go a long way.”

Etem echoes Ritchie’s sentiments, saying their tireless work ethic will be the root of their success. “I’m playing with two good guys,” he said. “I’m going to create space for them. Our skill and work ethic will take care of the rest.”

With the preseason upon them, Etem says it’s “go time” for himself and his teammates. “To get camp out of the way is a good feeling. It was grueling and tough over those three days,” he said. “I’m going to play my game – speed game – and get on the forecheck, and then go from there.”

The Ducks made headlines earlier this summer when they signed free agent Dany Heatley to a one-year contract in July. Heatley is a two-time 50-goal scorer and four-time NHL All-Star, and represented Canada in the Winter Olympics on two occasions, winning gold in 2010 (Vancouver).

Questions regarding where the 33-year-old sniper would slot into the lineup were quickly answered in training camp, where he skated on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Tonight, fans will get their first opportunity to see the Ducks’ new-look top line in action.

“We’ve been working well in practices, but games are different,” he said of his line. “We’re going to try and read off each other, create chances and get a feel for each other.

“Whether you’re on a new team or not, when you start playing again you get a little nervous and excited. Today is no different.”

The Ducks currently have 16 former first-round draft picks on the roster.
Dany Heatley (second overall by ATL in 2000)
Bryan Allen (fourth overall by VAN in 1998)
Hampus Lindholm (sixth overall by ANA in 2012)
Nick Ritchie (10th overall by ANA in 2014)
Cam Fowler (12th overall by ANA in 2010)
Louis Leblanc (18th overall by MTL in 2009)
Ryan Getzlaf (19th overally by ANA in 2003)
Ryan Kesler (23rd overall by VAN in 2003)
Andrew Cogliano (25th overall by EDM in 2005)
Shea Theodore (26th overall by ANA in 2013)
Kyle Palmieri (26th overall by ANA in 2009)
Corey Perry (28th overall by ANA in 2003)
Mark Fistric (28th overall by DAL in 2004)
Emerson Etem (29th overall by ANA in 2010)
Rickard Rakell (30th overall by ANA in 2011)
Dave Steckel (30th overall by LA in 2001)


Anaheim Ducks Colorado Avalanche
# Goaltender   # Goaltender  
31 Frederik Andersen 20 Reto Berra
36 John Gibson 34 Roman Will
# Pos Player # Pos Player
4 D Cam Fowler 2 D Nick Holden
6 D Ben Lovejoy 3 D Karl Stollery
10 RW Corey Perry 5 D Nate Guenin
15 C Ryan Getzlaf 10 C Ben Street
16 LW Emerson Etem 14 C Troy Bourke
18 RW Tim Jackman 18 C Jesse Winchester
20 C David Steckel 24 C Marc-Andre Cliche 
23 D Francois Beauchemin 27 D Bruno Gervais
39 LW Matt Beleskey 28 C Paul Carey
41 LW John Kurtz 36 C Garrett Meurs
42 D Josh Manson 37 C Colin Smith
44 C Nate Thompson 42 C Samuel Henley
46 LW Nick Ritchie 43 C Michael Sgarbossa
47 D Hampus Lindholm 44 D Ryan Wilson
50 LW Nicolas Kerdiles 46 D Stefan Elliott
51 LW Dany Heatley 53 LW Michael Schumacher
52 D Brandon Bell 55 LW Cody McLeod
54 D Andrew O'Brien 56 D Daniel Maggio
62 C Chris Wagner 71 RW Borna Rendulic
67 RW Rickard Rakell  
74 C/LW Joseph Cramarossa  
78 C Charlie Sarault      
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