Back home from a three-game road trip, the Ducks and their returning former captain, Scott Niedermayer, finally got the chance to get reacquainted on Tuesday.
In an optional day of practice at Honda Center, Niedermayer took to the ice with teammates Jonas Hiller
, Kent Huskins, Brad May, Drew Miller, Geoff Platt, Brian Sutherby and recent call-up Bruno St. Jacques.
It was the first time the Conn Smythe Trophy winner has had the chance to skate at Honda Center or practice with any of his teammates since announcing his plans to return. The Ducks departed for the road the morning of Dec. 6, around the same time Niedermayer practiced for the first time at Anaheim Ice.
“I had a little practice with some of the guys today. It was nice to get around other players on the ice in different situations,” Niedermayer said. “It was different than skating by myself the last few days. I felt good out there.”
While the entire team did not practice, Niedermayer was able to see most of his teammates in and around the locker room for the first time in a long time on Tuesday.
“It was fun. It’s pretty nice to get back and say hello again and be able to hang out,” Niedermayer said. “When you’re around them everyday, sometimes you start to get a little bored or maybe you want a day away from them. But when you’re away from them, it’s nice to get back. I have a lot of good friends here and we’ve had some pretty good experiences the last two years as a group.”
Niedermayer said he would like to return to the lineup as quickly as possible, but that Wednesday’s game against Vancouver
may be a stretch. He is officially listed as "doubtful" by the Ducks.
“I would guess that will be a tough one to make. I think that may be a long shot,” said Niedermayer in reference to Wednesday’s game against the Canucks, who were eliminated from last year’s playoffs by way of Niedermayer’s goal in the second overtime during Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
If it’s not Wednesday, Niedermayer, who is eager to get back, should make his much-anticipated return at some point during this homestand, which consists of three games concluding Sunday against San Jose.
“I think the timeline is as quick as possible,” Niedermayer said. “I’m a little nervous stepping in like this without a warmup or an exhibition. There’s no time for that. It will be different, but I’m excited for sure.”