By Kyle Shohara
The Ducks finalized their opening night roster earlier today, sending five players to San Diego (AHL) and placing two on injured reserve. Those players heading to San Diego are goaltender John Gibson, forwards Chris Mueller and Nick Ritchie, and defensemen Korbinian Holzer and Joe Piskula, while forwards Kenton Helgesen and Nate Thompson will begin the season on IR.
With the 23-man roster set, the Ducks now have their sights set on their regular season opener on Saturday at San Jose.
“It’s time to start building and getting ready to play,” said Andrew Cogliano. “The preseason is done, which is a relief because the hockey isn’t what it is during the season. You get the tempo up, the pace of practice up and you work toward having a good start.”
Cogliano says he knows what this club is capable of, but understands there is still plenty of work to do. “Everyone starts at the same place, and that’s with zero points,” he said. “It’s basically whoever can put together a good start and maintain it. We’re confident. We know we have good people in the room. We have a system that has worked in the past, and is tough to play against. It’s our job to go out and play.”
“It feels like it’s been a pretty long preseason, and for a lot of the guys who came early and were skating a few weeks prior, it kind of just makes it feel that much longer,” said Kevin Bieksa. “It’s nice to start practicing with a purpose now. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we know our first game is coming up in five days. The guys are excited.”
The Ducks have the luxury of getting in a full week’s worth of practice before Saturday’s season opener, while some teams are already beginning play in two days. Bieksa says the extra practice days should solidify the group.
“It’s nice to get on the ice with the same guys,” Bieksa said. “We’ve been split up a little bit throughout the course of camp, and exhibition games have been a little scattered. Now that we’re practicing together, we have a good week ahead of us. We have that kind of to our advantage. Some teams are playing Wednesday, but we get a full week of practice with all the guys. Going into that first game, we should be ready to go.”
Ducks right wing Jakob Silfverberg did not practice with the team this morning. Silfverberg was on the receiving end of a hit to the head from Sharks forward Raffi Torres during Saturday’s preseason finale vs. San Jose, and was kept out of the game for precautionary reasons. [UPDATE: The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Torres has been suspended 41 games for an illegal check to the head and interference]
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau says he’ll know more regarding Silfverberg’s status tomorrow morning. “We don’t play until Saturday, so it’s better to be safe than sorry,” he said.
Skating in place of Silfverberg with Cogliano and Ryan Kesler was Mike Santorelli.