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Report from Columbus: Fowler Is Game-Time Decision

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Dan Wood

Ducks Radio Analyst

COLUMBUS – The availability of impressive rookie defenseman Cam Fowler figures to be determined shortly before the Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets face off tonight at Nationwide Arena.

“It’s just the neck kind of protected itself when I got hit there and the muscles are just kind of contracted,” Fowler said this morning. ”Besides that, I’m hanging in there. I’m okay. I’m a possibility. I’m not sure exactly what the trainers and the coaches want to do. I’m going to take warm-up and just see how I feel. Hopefully I’ll be able to go tonight.”

Fowler, 18, suffered a broken nose and facial bruising during the second period of Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Honda Center. Shortly after having scored his first career NHL goal, Fowler made a tremendous rush up ice to nearly score another, only to crash headfirst into the end boards after taking a hit from Phoenix captain Shane Doan.

Doan was not punished for the hit, but he was suspended three games for a hit to the head on Dan Sexton in the third period of that game.

"It's partly my fault," Fowler said of the incident. "I was just trying to take it to the net and create something for my team. My eyes kind of started to get big and thought maybe I might have a good chance at scoring another one."

Fowler practiced with the Ducks late Tuesday afternoon in Columbus and also took part in today’s morning skate, but exited the ice early.

“He’s running around with a stiff neck right now, and as you see, his face is a little black and blue at this point,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “That’s what happens when you get a broken nose. That’s what the kid is dealing with right now. He got a pretty good bang.”

The 12th overall selection in this year’s entry draft, Fowler has also picked up two assists and is minus-1 while having averaged 20 minutes, five seconds of ice time in his first six NHL games. Among Ducks defensemen who have appeared in more than two games, only veteran Lubomir Visnovsky (25:54) has been on the ice more.

While it remains possible the Ducks could return Fowler to his junior team, the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, before he plays a 10th game and activates the first season of his three-year, entry-level contract, Fowler has done nothing other than show that he belongs in the NHL.

“He’s been very, very strong,” Carlyle said. “He’s had an excellent start to the season for a young player. He’s played in excess of 20 minutes, I think, probably in every game but the last one.

“Any time you can have an 18-year-old step into your lineup and make that type of contribution, not only on the offensive side, but on the defensive side and chewing minutes, you have to feel good about a young player.”

The plan is for Fowler to skate during pregame warm-ups and see how things go. If Fowler does not play, the Ducks will call upon Danny Syvret, whom the club recalled Tuesday from AHL affiliate Syracuse.

Fowler expressed a desire to play tonight, but said he also wants to be smart about the situation.

Syvret, 25, is a veteran of 49 NHL games with Edmonton and Philadelphia. In four games with Syracuse this season, he picked up two assists and seven penalty minutes. A free-agent acquisition in July, Syvret appeared in seven preseason games with the Ducks, netting a goal and an assist.

The Ducks (2-3-1) have gained points in three consecutive games, all at Honda Center. The Blue Jackets (2-2) began their season by splitting two games with the San Jose Sharks in Stockholm, Sweden, and are looking to atone for a 5-2 loss to defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago in Friday’s home opener.
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