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Practice Report: Andersen Hopeful to Start Tomorrow vs. Islanders

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Kyle Shohara

Photos from practice

Injuries are a part of everyday life in the NHL, and the Ducks have already had their fair share in the early stages of the 2014-15 season.

The list got longer today as it was revealed that goaltender John Gibson will miss approximately six weeks with a groin injury. The 21-year-old netminder suffered the injury during pregame warm-ups prior to Anaheim’s game at Colorado on Sunday, and he is currently on injured reserve. The Ducks also announced the recall of goaltender Igor Bobkov from Norfolk of the American Hockey League.

Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau says the severity of Gibson’s injury caught him by surprise. “We had no idea at first,” he said. “I just thought he tweaked his groin. Evidently, it’s a lot worse than we figured.”

Boudreau wouldn’t go into specifics regarding the injury, only to say that the rest of the team will have to step up in Gibson’s absence. “We have to suck it up,” he said. “I don’t see anybody crying for Columbus or other teams that have a lot of injuries right now. We have to do what we have to do, and we have to pick it up.

“You just have to deal with the adversity and if you take it as a challenger rather than a ‘Woe is me,’ you come away from it OK.”

Three goaltenders participated in the afternoon practice at Honda Center, including Frederik Andersen and Sunday’s winner, Jason LaBarbera. Andersen, who missed Sunday’s game because of muscle tightness, is being cautious with his recovery, and says his status for tomorrow night against the New York Islanders remains “up in the air.”

“We want to make sure nothing is wrong,” he said. “We want to make sure everything is where we want to be. It felt better today than it did this weekend. We’ll see how it goes.”

Andersen says he experienced the muscle tightness in Friday’s game at Dallas when he tweaked his leg. “I felt okay and was able to finish the game,” he said, “but the next day in Denver I felt like I couldn’t really be in my butterfly position.”

If Andersen can’t go tomorrow, Boudreau says LaBarbera will start in net.

Andersen’s injury seemingly kickstarted an interesting and presumably nerve-wracking 48 hours in which LaBarbera made an emergency start in Colorado after Gibson injured himself minutes before puck drop. The 34-year-old LaBarbera was going off of two hours of sleep after waking up at 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time to catch a flight from Norfolk to Atlanta and then to Denver. Serving as the emergency goalie was none other than 45-year-old goaltending consultant Dwayne Roloson.

LaBarbera said he spent nearly all of yesterday catching up on much-needed sleep. “I got out of bed to get a Halloween costume, and then I went back to bed,” he said. “I got up around 11 in the morning, had lunch and then went back to bed until around six o’clock at night.”

Rookie defenseman Josh Manson saw his ice time increase from 12:30 in his NHL debut on Friday at Dallas to 18:23 in Sunday’s game against the Avalanche. Manson moves well for a big man (6-foot-3, 217 pounds), and his strong work in the defensive zone gives the coaching staff an option on the penalty kill.

“If I can help the team on the penalty kill and save some of the other guys for the power play to help the team win, then I’ll do whatever I have to do,” Manson said. “That’s the type of player that I need to be to be successful.”

After a day off yesterday, Manson had a chance to decompress and reflect on a memorable NHL debut.

“It’s been amazing and surreal,” he said. “No words can really explain the first game. I felt a little more comfortable in the second game, and the older guys have been helping me out. Stones [defensive partner Clayton Stoner] and I do a lot of talking, and it has helped me out a lot.”

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