By Kyle Shohara
Pictures From Practice
With a three-game road trip against playoff-contending teams starting tomorrow night in Vancouver, the Ducks made sure they were in the right frame of mind before departing for the airport this afternoon. They got in a hard practice at Honda Center that included injured players Matt Beleskey (upper body), Sami Vatanen (lower body), Korbinian Holzer (upper body) and James Wisniewski (foot).
“They all looked like they were practicing well,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “I’m thinking by the end of the week, they’re all eligible unless any of them have a setback.”
Today was the first time Wisniewski (who played with the Ducks from 2008-10) skated with his new teammates after being dealt from the Columbus Blue Jackets last Monday. All was good, he said, except for one minor detail.
“It was a little awkward because I still don’t have any of my equipment,” said the 31-year-old Canton, Michigan native. “New skates, new gloves, new everything…and I’m using Kesler’s sticks. But it felt good to get back out there with the guys. I felt like part of the team now. Being here, but not going on the ice, kind of makes you feel like an outcast.”
Wisniewski suffered a bone bruise while blocking a shot in his last game as a Blue Jacket, March 1 at Pittsburgh. Originally expected to miss one to two weeks, Wisniewski says he was pleasantly surprised on the way his foot responded.
“My foot felt great in the boot,” he said. “I feel good. Now it’s about getting my legs into it.”
Beleskey, injured on Feb. 15 vs. Washington, says he’s hoping to return to the lineup sometime this week.
“I’m feeling pretty good. It was great to get out there with the guys,” he said. “We’re making a step each day. It makes such a difference being out there with the guys doing drills. When you’re out there by yourself, or just with Sami, it can seem pretty long. It’s great to be out there.”
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau is never shy of tinkering with his lineup, and today Corey Perry saw time with Rickard Rakell, Matt Beleskey and Jiri Sekac. Patrick Maroon was bumped from the fourth line to the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri, while Emerson Etem, who’s been with Rakell and Sekac since the Feb. 27 game vs. LA, skated with Nate Thompson and Andrew Cogliano. The only line that wasn’t altered today was the trio of Tomas Fleischmann, Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg.
“We were just trying to get the power play straightened out a bit,” Boudreau said, regarding the new line combos. “It hasn’t been working to the coaches’ specifications. We thought we’d change a few things around, especially with Wisniewski and Sami getting ready to come back in the next seven to 10 days. We’re trying to get two units that can move forward and be good.”Line combinations:
Patrick Maroon-Ryan Getzlaf-Kyle Palmieri
Tomas Fleischmann-Ryan Kesler-Jakob Silfverberg
Matt Beleskey-Jiri Sekac-Rickard Rakell-Corey Perry
Emerson Etem-Nate Thompson-Andrew Cogliano