By Kyle Shohara
Training camp is quickly flying by, as this afternoon marked the end of Day 3 here at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE.
It was the most physical on-ice session of camp thus far, as players look to leave a lasting impression on the Ducks brass. One play, in particular, involved Chris Wagner and Andrew O’Brien. The two collided in a big hit along the boards, sending both players – and Ducks Assistant Coach Brad Lauer – flying. The players on the bench shared a laugh with Lauer, who picked himself back up before the play ended.
Devante Smith-Pelly was also throwing his weight around, skating on a line with Andrew Cogliano and Rickard Rakell. Smith-Pelly, who signed a two-year contract on September 16, said he never had any doubt that the deal would get done before camp. “I knew something would get done right before camp,” he said. “I wasn’t just sitting around and hanging out. I was still working hard back home, and just ready for it to get done.”
Smith-Pelly says he feels good about his on-ice performance so far in camp, but acknowledges that he must put together consistent efforts on a nightly basis to ensure his time in the lineup.
“That’s always been a thing with me,” he said. “I’ve been pretty inconsistent sometimes, but that’s something I’ve worked on the last couple of years. Hopefully I can put it together for the full 82 games and play my best hockey.”
PRIDE OF IRVINE
Nicolas Kerdiles is in the midst of his first professional training camp, and is one of the players fighting to crack a deep Ducks lineup at left wing. The Ducks signed the former 2012 second-round pick (36th overall) to a three-year entry-level contract back in April, after a successful college career at Wisconsin.
Kerdiles admits he’s still fighting some nerves. “I’m skating with guys like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Dany Heatley,” he said. “It’s my first time getting a taste of that at the NHL level. I’m a little nervous, but I’m trying to think of it like [development] camp.”
Kerdiles ranked fifth in the nation in points-per-game (1.36) and tied for 11th in assists-per-game (0.82) last season, collecting 38 points (15g/23a) in 28 games with the Badgers. Kerdiles ranked third among conference skaters in scoring and goals, and second in assists. He then made his pro debut with Norfolk (AHL), appearing in six regular season games, scoring four points (1g/3a) with a plus-3 rating and two penalty minutes. In his Calder Cup Playoffs debut, Kerdiles co-led the team in goals (3g/1a) while appearing in all 10 games.
Like Smith-Pelly, Kerdiles says he’s focusing on being consistent and showing an unrelenting work ethic.
“I have to show up every day and be consistent,” he said. “I’m not going to focus on putting points up every game and being down if I can’t, because this my first taste of NHL-level hockey. I’m going to be consistent, show some energy, throw some hits and work my butt off. Hopefully that impresses the guys up top.
“I’m going to work my butt off and get ready for the season, wherever I start.”LINE COMBINATIONS
Dany Heatley – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey PerryGrey:
Andrew Cogliano – Rickard Rakell – Devante Smith-PellyOrange:
Nicolas Kerdiles – Dave Steckel – Stefan NoesenWhite:
Brad Winchester – Joseph Cramarossa – Kenton Helgesen
Cam Fowler, Ben Lovejoy, Clayton Stoner, Sami Vatanen, Mat Clark, Andrew O’Brien, Josh Manson, Nathan McIver
Frederik Andersen, Jason LaBarbera
The Ducks are scheduled to have two on-ice sessions tomorrow at Anaheim ICE (open to the public, times subject to change).
Sunday, Sept. 21: Group A practice 9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; Group B practice 1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE is located at 300 West Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim (one mile east of the 5 freeway off the Lincoln Ave. exit). Parking is available in two separate structures adjacent to the facility.