By Kyle Shohara
Pictures from practice
After spending nine days on the road, the Ducks touched down in Southern California in the early morning hours on Friday. A day off yesterday was welcomed, the players said, and today they got back to work at The Rinks – Anaheim ICE.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau put his players through a brisk 50-minute practice, still ironing out the wrinkles that developed over the course of the team’s recent five-game road trip.
Not on the ice, however, was Ryan Getzlaf, who took part in an off-ice workout. It was labeled as a “maintenance day” for the Ducks captain.
Goaltender Frederik Andersen was on the ice briefly before practice, but says he doesn’t want to rush things. Andersen was struck in the back of the head by the crossbar during Anaheim’s game at Tampa Bay last Sunday, and has missed the past two games. Therefore, John Gibson and Ilya Bryzgalov manned the creases this morning.
Much was made of the team’s practice Wednesday afternoon in suburban Raleigh, North Carolina. Hard skating and battle drills were at the forefront, meant to re-energize a team that appeared lethargic in back-to-back regulation losses at Tampa Bay and Florida. Though their game the following night at Carolina wasn’t pretty by any means, the Ducks came away with a much-needed victory to salvage their trip with a .500 record.
Although today’s session wasn’t as taxing, Boudreau hammered home a few points along the way.
“I know everybody was trying hard and trying to do the right things, but we weren’t as crisp as we would’ve liked to have been,” said forward Tim Jackman. “We worked hard. Guys were excited about being back here after a day off and the road trip. It was good to be back at the rink. We’ll be ready – and excited – to play tomorrow.”
“We know we have a great team here, and we don’t accept losing games,” said defenseman Sami Vatanen. “We want to win every game and do our best. We just need to get back to work and stick to our structure so we can play good hockey again.
“It’s always a learning process when you lose games. It’s better to lose now than in the playoffs. It reminds us that we need to be at our best every day. We can’t take days off like that.”
Adversity isn’t a bad thing, either. Jackman says the team’s recent skid was a reminder of the importance of hard work and staying true to the game plan.
“It’s good to be challenged,” he said. “We’ve had some success this year, but when you battle adversity, you see things differently. I thought we really bounced back against Carolina. We stepped up and did a lot of good things. Hopefully we found our game again.
“We learned that we have to play a certain way to have success. If we think we can just step on the ice and win games, it’s not going to work. It won’t work against any team in this league. It was a good learning experience. Hopefully it shows in the next few games.”
It begins tomorrow, as the Ducks host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals at Honda Center.