It's been 151 days since we've seen Ducks hockey in this building, so preseason or not, the arrival of tonight's game with the Coyotes is a breath of fresh air.
, who will be part of an intriguing lineup on the ice tonight, put it best this morning. "When you're just practicing and scrimmaging against each other, it's fun but it doesn't feel quite real until you get to play against another team and see what they have to offer. We're excited and this is when it gets to be more fun."
Fun indeed, and along with Sexton there are a number of fan-favorite Ducks in tonight's lineup, along with some newer guys that pique interest. There are household names like Teemu, Saku and Lubo. There are first-time Ducks like Andrew Cogliano
, Mark Bell
, J.F. Jacques and Bryan Rodney
. There are the young guys with high numbers trying to nab roster spots like Kyle Palmieri
, Nick Bonino
, Emerson Etem Peter Holland
and Devante Smith-Pelly
Here's the full lineup:
7 C Andrew Cogliano
8 RW Teemu Selanne
11 C Saku Koivu
17 D Lubomir Visnovsky
18 C Mark Bell
19 LW Jean-Francois Jacques
25 D Matt Smaby
34 D Nate Guenin
40 D Sean Zimmerman
42 RW Dan Sexton
47 D Bryan Rodney
51 RW Kyle Palmieri
58 D Jake Newton
62 LW Patrick Maroon
63 C Nick Bonino
64 LW Brandon McMillan
65 RW Emerson Etem
67 RW Rickard Rakell
73 D Mat Clark
74 C Peter Holland
77 RW Devante Smith-Pelly
82 C Joseph CramarossaGoalies
36 G John Gibson
72 G Igor Bobkov
You'll notice the Ducks are going young between the pipes, with this year's second-round pick John Gibson
and 2009 third-rounder Igor Bobkov
getting the nods (they'll probably play a half-game each). Jonas Hiller
is not in there tonight, and may or may not play tomorrow, but he had good things to say after getting some time in yesterday's scrimmage.
“You have better days and worse days no matter how you feel or whatever,” Hiller said. “I don’t worry too much about it. Sure, some days you just feel better than other days. At the end, overall, I’m feeling well out there. And that’s what counts … I’d like to play as soon as possible.
“Still not everything feels exactly the same, but I think it was also like that before,” he said. “I’m pretty happy with the way it’s going right now and I’m definitely looking forward to playing the first game.
"In the end I still have to play exhibition games, because the whole atmosphere, the whole thing, also mentally, is just different than when you play in practice. Sure, it's part of it -- we scrimmaged last week. We scrimmaged when I was skating back home. That kind of went well, but I still think that just being there and facing a different team, having fans in the stands, the whole atmosphere, it's just going to be another test. But I'm not too worried about it. I'm definitely looking forward for those first games."
Some of the Ducks not in the lineup tonight (and tomorrow night) will be working at various locations around Honda Center. Players not appearing in tonight’s game will be working at various locations at Honda Center tonight and tomorrow (players/times are subject to change):
- Team Store (main concourse) - Ryan Getzlaf & Bobby Ryan (6:00-6:30 p.m.)
- Elevator operator (Southeast Concierge near section 204) – George Parros (working elevator 6:00 to 6:15 then FanZone from 6:15 to 6:45).
- FanZone (section 214) – Sheldon Brookbank (6:00-7:00)
- Will Call Window (near section 201) – Francois Beauchemin & Jason Blake (6:00- 6:20)
- Oggi’s Pizza (near section 203) – Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa, Nick Bonino (6:00-7:00)
If you're not here tonight, you can listen to the radio broadcast on this website, and/or follow my live game log (links will be provided around 7 Pacific).
Tonight is the start of a stretch of five preseason games in six nights for the Ducks, who play tomorrow here against San Jose, then go on a three-game roadie at SJ on Friday, Vancouver on Saturday and LA on Sunday.
It's a lot of hockey, but after 4 1/2 months without it, that's the way we like it.