Like the band Thin Lizzy once said, the boys are back in town. With the NHL All-Star break in the rearview mirror, a full roster of players took part in a rare late-afternoon practice at Honda Center today. All-Stars Cam Fowler and Ryan Kesler were also on the ice less than 24 hours after taking part in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. Of course, the travel was minimal, so it was expected that they'd take part.
Also skating was Jakob Silfverberg, who today flanked his familiar linemates Kesler and Andrew Cogliano. Silfverberg missed three consecutive games leading into the break with an upper-body injury but skated with a white, non-contact jersey today.
Nate Thompson is back with the Ducks after playing three games with the San Diego Gulls on a long-term injury-conditioning loan. "No issues," Thompson said. "It was a matter of getting my timing back. It went well and I feel good."
The veteran center, who has yet to appear in a game this season for the Ducks, took line rushes alongside Joseph Cramarossa, Logan Shaw and Jared Boll. Known for his blue-collar work ethic and expertise on the draw, Thompson's experience in both the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs should bode well with the Ducks as the stretch run quickly approaches.
"I pride myself in a lot of little things in the game," he said. "I've been around for a little bit, so maybe I can add some leadership. Just help contribute. It'll be good to feel a part of the team again."
Head coach Randy Carlyle said Silfverberg and Thompson will be re-evaluated tomorrow after the pregame skate in the morning. Ironically enough, it was a game against the Colorado Avalanche that shelved Silfverberg with the injury on January 19. Anaheim's opponent tomorrow? Colorado.
"Let's not put too much pressure on the individual and focus on getting him through tomorrow's practice," Carlyle said, on Thompson. "He made a contribution in all three games [with San Diego], so that's a positive. But if you ask him, practicing today was a lot different than practicing in the American Hockey League. That's not to say they're not good players, but the level of practice and the pace of the game is much higher here."
Video: Nate Thompson discusses his possible return