After playing every other day for the first 10 days of the season, the Ducks have reached an extended break in their schedule in which their next game won't come until Friday.
Perhaps the break in action came at a good time for the club, which, after defeating the New York Islanders at home on October 11, has sputtered in the two games that followed. The Ducks held a team-building paintball outing yesterday at Camp Pendleton in hopes of bringing the team closer together.
"It's been every day and every second day we've been playing," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "This gave us a little bit of a time to get some rest. The people up there did a heck of a job. We had a lot of fun."
It was back to work today, however. This marked the first day on the ice since Sunday (3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres) and it featured rookie forward Ondrej Kase, who has missed three consecutive games with an upper-body injury.
Kase was a full participant in the hour-long practice, and was utilized on the top power-play unit. The 21-year-old rookie got off to a hot start, earning a goal and two points in the first three games of the season.
Also on the ice were defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen, as well as goaltender Ryan Miller. None of them have played yet this season, but things are looking up for a Ducks squad that has been hit hard by injuries thus far.
"They seem to be trickling back," said Carlyle. "With Hampus joining our practice squad, and Sami, and now Kase, it's always nice to see some healthy bodies back. We're not at full steam yet. Hopefully we've got some bodies back quicker than normal."
With a four-game road trip on the horizon, including a back-to-back set on October 28 and 29 at Tampa Bay and Carolina, respectively, Carlyle says he's hopeful veteran netminder Miller will be ready by then.
"He's another one we're looking forward to joining our group on a regular basis," Carlyle said. "We'll have to make that determination probably tomorrow - if he's able to back up, and if that's the next step. The road trip is a probable opportunity."
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf and veteran right wing Patrick Eaves did not participate in practice today, as both continue to recover from lower-body injuries. Getzlaf has appeared in two of the six games thus far, and has missed the past two contests against Colorado and Buffalo. Eaves made his season debut on October 11 against the Islanders and played two nights later at Colorado, but missed Sunday's game due to injury.
Video: Randy Carlyle updates the injured Ducks