In preparation for a taxing four-game road trip through the East Coast, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle held a late practice Monday afternoon at Honda Center. The Ducks took Sunday off following a 4-3 victory over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
Carlyle said that with that day away from the rink, combined with a travel day Tuesday, he wanted to move practice to the late afternoon. The Ducks flew out of Orange County Tuesday morning, headed to New Jersey, where they play the Devils tomorrow night. That game, and the two after it, will start at 4 p.m. Pacific time, with the fourth game (Monday at Pittsburgh) dropping the puck at 4:30 Pacific.
“We moved practice later in the day, so it would be more like game situation,” Carlyle said of the practice that got going around 3:30 p.m.. “We won’t be able to skate [Tuesday], so we have to stretch and do our workout when we get in Jersey. Just a little bit of a change.”
Carlyle also admitted to an ulterior motive for the late practice, since he was returning from a fishing trip he took with members of his coaching staff up in Bishop, 300 miles north of Anaheim. “It went very well,” he said. “I left Saturday night after the game, fished all day yesterday, drove back this morning. I had a wonderful day in mountains and it was beautiful. I caught all kinds of fish and had a great time.”
The coach also hopes this trip will build on the momentum the Ducks have created with two straight victories at home and an apparent improvement in their play. “When you go on the road, it’s all about playing the game,” Carlyle said. “There are no other distractions. You’re not going to pick up the dry cleaning. You’re not going to do what your list is, if you’re married, what list has been made for you. It’s all about hockey and getting out on the road with your teammates.
|“I’m feeling good and I’m making sure that this thing is going to be ready when I do play,” Giguere said. “It seems like it took a long time, but I think it’s for the better." |
“There is just something that always seems to bring teams together. That is what we need on this one, especially starting with a tough game in New Jersey.”
Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere joined the Ducks on the road trip after missing the last several games while on injured reserve for a strained groin. Giguere should be called upon during the upcoming four-game stretch, notably when the Ducks play back-to-back games Friday at Columbus and Saturday at Detroit.
“Giguere is ready to go,” Carlyle said. “I’m sure that we’re going to have to use him here very shortly. We’ll see how things go on Wednesday in New Jersey and we’ll make a decision. He’s ready and 100 percent. He says that he can play and he feels he healed. All indications from him is he feels fine and there are no issues there.”
Giguere, who has been practicing full-time with the Ducks over the past few days, confirmed that he’s in game shape. “I’m feeling good and I’m making sure that this thing is going to be ready when I do play,” Giguere said. “It seems like it took a long time, but I think it’s for the better. I’ve pulled my groin before and the pain I felt was similar to when I missed two weeks in the past for similar type of pain. I was hoping that it would heal quicker, but I got it pretty good that time.”
|“Sometimes it’s fun playing on the road," Whitney said. "We’re a pretty close-knit team on the road trips like this, so it’s fun. That and playing simple, solid hockey is the formula.” |
Giguere had been bothered by the injury in the days leading up to an October 24 game against Columbus at Honda Center. He started that game and re-injured the groin while stretching out to stop a Fedor Tyutin shot that ended up being the game-winning goal.
“The last game I played I felt good. I thought I was ready,” Giguere said. “There was not much pain, except for that last save. Maybe it would have happened even if I was not injured. I don’t regret the decision that I did at the time.”
Giguere may have another shot against that same Columbus team, depending on what Carlyle decides to do with his goalies during this vital week for the team, which is 2-1-2 away from home this season.
“We keep it pretty simple on the road and have had some good games,” said defenseman Ryan Whitney. “Sometimes it’s fun playing on the road. We’re a pretty close-knit team on the road trips like this, so it’s fun. You’re out to dinner with your friends. A lot of guys are married or have girlfriends here, so you don’t see them too much at home. You see them more on the road. That and playing simple, solid hockey is the formula.”