By Kyle Shohara
|"As you get a little older and you've been around and realize how hard it is to make the playoffs anymore, maybe you cherish it a little more." -- Bryan Allen
The Ducks held an optional practice at Honda Center this afternoon, fresh off a four-game road trip through Western Canada. After dropping the first of four in Calgary, Anaheim earned back-to-back road wins in Edmonton and defeated Vancouver 3-1 last night.
With one more regular season game remaining (tomorrow night at Honda Center), the Ducks are primed to head into the postseason on a high note.
“It was huge,” said Bryan Allen, in regard to Anaheim’s successful road trip. “Any time a team knows they’re going to be in the playoffs, they try to play the same way and really stick to a system because that’s really what’s going to pay off down the road.”
Players young and old are eager for the postseason, especially 13-year veteran Allen, who hasn’t been in the playoffs for nearly 10 years.
“I’m very excited. It’s been awhile for me,” said Allen, who spent time with the Canucks, Panthers and Hurricanes before coming to Anaheim last summer. “Someone said [2003-04], around that time. As you get a little older and you’ve been around and realize how hard it is to make the playoffs anymore, maybe you cherish it a little more.”
Rookie and Long Beach native Emerson Etem embarks on his first postseason journey and says he’s already sought advice from a teammate.
“I asked Bobby [Ryan], maybe about a week ago, what the playoffs are like,” said Etem. “He said at Honda Center, there’s nothing really like it.”
Adds Etem, “I just expect what they’re telling me. There’s nothing else like the fans here in Honda Center during playoff time. Me being the young guy, I just want to play a simple game. That’s why I’m not nervous. I know the game I need to play. Play the body, get the puck deep and create energy for our team.”
On the playoffs: “They feel different. The arena feels different. Everything is different. The approach to the game is different, the seriousness of it. It’s more physical. There are no passengers ever in the playoffs. It’s what makes hockey a beautiful thing in the spring.
“You coach differently because the matchups are usually more intense. At the end of a playoff game, you’re really tired as a coach because it’s a mental day. It’s from 6 a.m. right through game time.”
On advising the younger players: “Everybody here has pretty well been in the playoffs at some part of their lives. Sometimes they’re so excited, what you’re really doing is calming them down. The experienced guys know what to expect. They don’t panic. The younger guys have to learn. You’re either going to make mistakes, as we all are, but they’re not going to make mistakes for lack of effort. They’ll be working their rear ends off.”