Giovanni Fiore was in San Diego just long enough to catch a couple of sunrises and sunsets before he packed his bags and made his way up the coast.
The talented undrafted rookie is back in Anaheim and could make his NHL debut later tonight when the Ducks host the Arizona Coyotes in the season opener. Fiore, who was one of the club's standout players throughout training camp and preseason, is happy to be back.
"It felt like I never left," said Fiore, who had a goal and two points in four preseason games. "It's a good chance for me. If I get the opportunity, I'll take it. I'm focused. Nothing is distracting me. It's just another day of work."
Fiore's parents, Tony and Mary, are flying out from Montreal in the event their son plays in his first NHL regular-season game tonight.
The 21-year-old left wing could be one of a handful of newcomers in the lineup tonight due to a rash of injuries that have plagued the Ducks early on. We already know Ryan Kesler, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen won't play tonight. Ryan Miller won't either, as he still continues to recover from an upper-body injury, nor will Patrick Eaves, who is dealing with a lower-body ailment. Earlier today, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle confirmed the team's captain, Ryan Getzlaf, would not play.
With six regulars out of the lineup, Carlyle says the importance of playing cohesively as a team cannot be understated.
"For any team to build a base, you have to have a foundation," Carlyle said. "Our foundation has to be work ethic and our ability to play with structure. Those two things are the cement and bricks that can give you an opportunity to build something. If you don't have those, you don't have a chance."
John Gibson is expected to get the start for Anaheim with Reto Berra backing him up. The Ducks didn't go through any line rushes, so we won't know anything definitive until the pregame skate.
As for the Coyotes, who held their morning skate after the Ducks, it appears Louis Domingue will get the start in goal. Antti Raanta, who was acquired along with Derek Stepan from the New York Rangers on June 23, will serve as the backup tonight.
Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson skated earlier and is expected to play. The 26-year-old blueliner sustained a knee injury in a preseason game on September 23, but resumed skating four days ago. Ekman-Larsson will be one of three alternate captains for the Coyotes, who will leave the captaincy vacant to begin the season.
Video: The Ducks look ahead to the season opener at home