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Ducks have options on defense to replace Robidas

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The loss of defenseman Stephane Robidas early in the second period of Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday left the Anaheim Ducks with a big void at their blue line.

Robidas is gone for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a broken right leg. It's the same leg he broke while playing for the Stars in November; he was traded to Anaheim in early March and the Ducks waited for him to finish healing.

But the Western Conference regular-season champions appear to have enough depth to overcome the loss of Robidas. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau has two viable options on his roster: former Stars defenseman Mark Fistric, who was recalled from a lengthy conditioning assignment with Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Sunday, and Luca Sbisa, who was limited to 30 games in the regular season because of injury.

"Sbisa hasn't played a lot this year, but he's a proven NHL guy," Boudreau said after practice Tuesday. "Mark Fistric just finished his rehab stint and I'm glad he did because that makes him eligible. We could still call Sammy [Vatanen] back [from Norfolk]. We have options."

Vatanen, who appeared in 48 games for the Ducks, was assigned to the AHL on April 21, when Fistric was brought back.

Boudreau isn't about to push the panic button about losing Robidas as his team prepares for Game 4 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW).

"We hate losing [Robidas] because he was a real steady force back there," Boudreau said. The thing about this team is we've rebounded from injuries all year. The first half of the year we had the most injuries and we just kept playing through it because we had good depth."

Fistric, who has been sidelined with a lower-body nerve injury and hasn't played an NHL game since March 15, said he will be ready if he gets the call.

"As a player, you always want to believe it's going to be you, but we have a lot of quality players and a lot of depth on our team and we've had it all year," Fistric said. "It doesn't matter who goes in, they're going to do a great job and help the team forward."

Sbisa said he will be ready should he get the nod from Boudreau.

"It's exciting," Sbisa said. "Playoff hockey, that's what you work for in the summer, that's what you work for throughout the season. It [stinks] to watch it from the press box, but now there's a chance and I'm going to do whatever it takes to be in the lineup and stay in the lineup."

Fistric knows it's been some time since he last logged ice time with Anaheim, but after his lengthy rehab stint in the AHL, he said he feels he's ready to play.

"It's been long, frustrating, but had a lot of good people surrounding me, helping me out and I feel really good now. If I'm called upon, I'm ready," Fistric said.

Sbisa also knows what it's like to deal with injuries; he missed several weeks with a torn tendon in his right hand, then battled knee problems and an upper-body injury late in the season.

But like Fistric, he said he's ready to contribute.

"It's been a terrible year with the injuries. Every time I started to look good, something happened. Just before playoffs, I was playing the best hockey of the year so far and things were looking good again and in Vancouver I got that injury and missed a few real important games," Sbisa said. "That's what put me out of the lineup. At the end of the day, there's not much you can do other than stay positive. That's what I've been doing all year, so got to keep doing that."

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