By Kyle Shohara
AnaheimDucks.com Photos from Practice
The Ducks got a scare this afternoon at practice when defenseman Cam Fowler had to be helped off the ice in what head coach Bruce Boudreau called a “freak, freak thing.” Fowler caught an edge and was unable to put any weight on his leg after the incident, but Boudreau reported that team trainers said the injury “wasn’t too bad.”
“You always get nervous when you think you hurt something,” Boudreau said. “Right now it’s day to day. I’m expecting him maybe not in the lineup on Saturday [vs. San Jose], but for sure by Pittsburgh.” (Boudreau was alluding to the team’s season opener a week from today against the Penguins.)
Boudreau also gave an update on Dany Heatley, who left Sunday’s game vs. LA with a groin injury. At the time of the injury, Boudreau said the left winger would be out a minimum of a week. “He’s still day-to-day, as far as I know,” Boudreau said. “Every time I talk to him, he says ‘I’m feeling better.’ I keep waiting for him to get on the ice. It’s been three or four days, so we’ll see if he gets ramped up pretty soon.”
“He was rambling around pretty good in the gym today, so I think it’s getting closer than further.”
Two days ago, Kyle Palmieri skated at the beginning and end of the team’s practice session at Honda Center. When asked on a status update for Palmieri that day, Boudreau said “When he gets into the middle part of [practice], then we’ll know he’s ready to go.”
Today, Palmieri took part in the full practice, an encouraging sign for the 23-year-old forward.
“It was nice to get back out there again,” he said. “It’s nice to get dressed in the same locker room again. It’s been a long road, but hopefully it’s just smooth sailing from here.”
Palmieri was part of a physically demanding practice that ended with conditioning drills, leaving players hunched over after they finished. “We have one preseason game left, and then it’s real bullets,” he said. “We have to get into that mindset now.”
Boudreau says the extra conditioning is a lesson learned from the beginning of last season. “We’ve done more conditioning this year than we did at this time last year,” he said. “I think it showed at the start of the season last year. It took us a while to get going. We’re hoping it doesn’t happen this year.”
That’s the loose nickname given to young Swedish prospect William Karlsson, who looks more One Direction than Wild Wild West. The 21-year-old has survived three sets of rosters moves along with Emerson Etem and Rickard Rakell.
“I can feel that it’s getting closer, for sure,” he said, of the team’s final decision on where he begins the season. “I’m not really sure about my situation, but I’m happy to be here.”
Karlsson has impressed throughout training camp and preseason, and Boudreau says he wants to see “more of the same” from him, Etem and Rakell. “We only had one extra forward out there if you think Palmieri’s still hurt,” he said. “There isn’t a lot of room to be making a lot of changes at this stage. We’ve seen what we’ve seen. Now we just have to figure out who would be the best fit to start to season with us.”
“I’m happy we’re all here…guys from Norfolk making an impact on the game early on,” said Etem. “I’m not going to change anything. I’m going show the same thing I’ve been showing, and that’s a lot of speed, shots on net and just going hard to the paint. The more simple I play, the more the game comes to me and my linemates.”