By Kyle Shohara
After an optional practice yesterday, the team took part in a brisk one-hour session this afternoon at THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE.
We’ve reached a rare part of the schedule that doesn’t have the Ducks playing again until Sunday at home against the Edmonton Oilers. The team last played on Wednesday, a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild at Honda Center.
Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said it’s important to have good, hard practices in these days between games.
“After a day off, you can be a bit sluggish,” he said. “You want to get things feeling good and back to normal right away. Today we worked on our system-play, forechecking and a little bit of our d-zone coverage. Tomorrow, we’ll work on our special teams.”
Adds Cam Fowler, “We wanted to get back to a hard practice. This is kind of a funny month with Christmas and how many games we have on this big road trip [four games, eight days]. It’s important to get to the rink and get our work in. I thought we did that today.”
Fowler also said he’s not used to going this many days without a game.
“It’s pretty weird,” he said. “It’s a weird feeling considering the schedule we’ve had to start this year. I can’t believe we don’t have a game tomorrow and another day goes by and we have a game on Sunday. It feels a little weird, but it gives us time to work on things and get a few practices in.”
“Taking a day to relax and let go of hockey is always nice,” said Cogliano, who hasn’t missed a game in his entire NHL career (492 consecutive games). “And now, we get back into the swing of things. We have five games before Christmas that are really important. They can set us up for a really good first half [of the season], then get ready for the second half. This is a good little break before that.”
The break is also giving injured players time to heal and recover, and, like yesterday, Francois Beauchemin, Mathieu Perreault and Jakob Silfverberg were taking regular shifts in practice.
“We’ve been waiting for guys to come back,” Cogliano said. “We haven’t had a lot of guys playing consistently all year simply because of injuries. To have guys come back and have our full lineup, or close to it, is a big boost for the team.”
Fowler says having the chance to finally dress a healthy lineup is a huge confidence boost for the team. “We’re definitely missing some key guys right now, and the guys will hopefully come back ready and strong and can contribute right away. We’ve had a lot of guys who have stepped up and played a big role while those guys have been down, but they’ve certainly been missed. We’re looking forward to getting healthy again and having a full lineup.”
FLU BUG STRIKES (AGAIN)
Earlier this season, the Ducks were hit hard by a flu bug that slowly made its way through the team, including players, broadcasters and front office staff.
Now the flu is back, and prevented Teemu Selanne and Daniel Winnik from practicing today, though head coach Bruce Boudreau said he’s not sure of the severity of the illness for either player.