By Kyle Shohara
|"It was good to get on the ice and meet all the guys. I'm very excited" -- Mathieu Perreault
A new face joined the Ducks as they took part in a brisk practice at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE on Tuesday afternoon, the last skate before taking off for Denver for Wednesday’s season opener. After being acquired on Sunday from the Washington Capitals, center Mathieu Perreault practiced on a line with Teemu Selanne and Jakob Silfverberg. Today was his first practice with the Ducks after traveling all day yesterday.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “We had a day off on Sunday in Washington, and I didn’t get to skate yesterday because I was traveling. It was good to get on the ice and meet all the guys. I’m very excited.”
The 25-year-old Drummondville, Quebec native will wear number 22 with the Ducks.
“It’s nice,” he said, on skating with Selanne and Silfverberg. “[They’re] two fast and smart players. It wasn’t something I was used to in Washington. I’ve never really been on the top line or top-two lines, so it’s something I’m very excited about. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Although Perreault said he only knows Francois Beauchemin because of their close proximity back in Quebec, he’s excited to get to know the rest of the guys during their three-game road trip.
“You get to know the guys a bit more on the road,” he said. “You can go eat some meals, and we have a team meal tonight. I’ll get to talk to more of the guys, so it’ll be a good thing for me.”
Perreault’s linemate, Selanne, was impressed with his skillset during practice. “He’s a very good skater,” Selanne said. “He can see the game. It’s only been one practice, but you can see he has all the skills. He’s a very good skater, and hopefully it’ll be fun.”
MORE PHOTOS OF PRACTICE
The Ducks begin the season with a three-game road trip beginning tomorrow in Colorado. After they face the Avalanche, they’ll travel to Minnesota and Winnipeg for games on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. In fact, 11 of the first 16 games will be played away from Honda Center.
“I really believe there’s less distraction when you start on the road,” Selanne said. “But, the focus right now is having a good start. It’s going to make a lot of things easier.”
“You get away from the hassle,” said fellow veteran Saku Koivu. “You can really focus on the first couple games. We spend two days in between the first and second games. We can get some time as a team, some bonding time. If you can get some wins, it’s a really good thing to start on the road.”
GOOD START IS KEY
Starting strong will be on the minds of Ducks players as they take on a young Avalanche squad tomorrow night. Koivu hopes the team will come out of the gate with vigor and show the consistency they’ve been striving for.
“It’s a team with a new coach, and it’s a young team that’s going to be excited about the home opener,” he said of the Avs. “The start is going to be the key. We’ve shown last year and in the preseason that we play a simple team game. We get pucks deep and we rely on our forecheck and the defensive part of our game. We should have enough scoring to win games. It’s a team concept, and we have to get a little more consistent than in the preseason.”