By Kyle Shohara
Bryan Allen and Dany Heatley both took part in today’s practice at Honda Center, a good sign for both players who have yet to see action in the regular season.
Allen suffered an unspecified injury leading up to the club’s season opener on October 9 at Pittsburgh but traveled with the team during their season-opening four-game road trip. The 34-year-old defenseman says it was refreshing to get back on the sheet with teammates.
“It was a good first step skating with everyone,” he said. “It wasn’t too intense. It’s always tough when you get hurt, and skating by yourself can be some long days. It’s nice to be back out there with everyone.”
Allen says it’s a step-by-step process, and the biggest mistake would be to rush his return. “It’s one of those injuries that makes you want to do more than you probably should,” he said. “And then you get setbacks. I’m trying to approach things the right way, and hopefully it works.”
Heatley was enjoying a fine preseason with the Ducks before suffering a lower-body injury against the Kings on September 28. The 33-year-old shared the team lead in preseason scoring, with three points (2g/1a).
“It felt good being out there with the guys,” he said. “I feel good. It’s progressing really well. First, you skate by yourself, and then you get in some practices. Hopefully it keeps going the right way and I can get back soon.”
Head coach Bruce Boudreau was cautiously optimistic. “Both of those guys want to play, but they’re not ready yet,” he said. “It was their first real practice, as much as a forty-minute practice will be. It’s a sign in the right direction, that’s for sure.”
Boudreau says it’s ultimately up to both of the players, specifically Heatley, to decide when to return to the lineup. “He’s going to have to let us know when he’s ready,” he said. “If you don’t feel right, if there’s something still there, then your performance won’t be where it should be. Your body has to feel perfect to play.”
GIBSON BACK IN ANAHEIM
Earlier today, the Ducks recalled John Gibson from Norfolk of the American Hockey League. The 21-year-old was the starting netminder for Anaheim’s first game of the season, a 6-4 loss at Pittsburgh. But with Frederik Andersen’s current five-game winning streak, Gibson was reassigned to Norfolk (at his request) for seasoning. While there, Gibson went 1-1-0 with a 3.05 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in two games.
Gibson says it was good to get in some action before returning to the big club. “If I have an opportunity to play, I might as well take it. That’s the way I look at it,” he said. “It wasn’t too crazy. I saw an opportunity to get a couple of games in.”
ROLOSON DONS THE PADS
It wasn’t too long ago that Dwayne Roloson played a big role in eliminating the Ducks from the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. But now he’s one of the good guys, serving as Anaheim’s goaltending consultant. Roloson threw on the pads for today’s practice session, and looked pretty good for not playing in a few years.
“I shot against him a while ago,” said Heatley with a laugh. “He looked pretty good. He hadn’t been on the ice for a couple of years, so for that, and brand new gear, he looked pretty good.”
Though Roloson was donning an all-white mask, Gibson said he’ll excuse it…this time.
“It was his first time on the ice in a while. You have to let a couple of things slide.”