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.
AnaheimDucks.com 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.”FIRST-ROUNDERS GALORE
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)ROSTERS FOR TONIGHT'S GAME AT HONDA CENTER
|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 || || || |