ANAHEIM -- Welcome back, Emerson Etem. Now go play the Chicago Blackhawks.
Etem was recalled in time to join the Anaheim Ducks for a game against Chicago on Wednesday at Honda Center. It will be his first NHL game since Dec. 9. Etem was re-assigned after that partly because the Ducks wanted to see more consistency and partly because their lineup is difficult to crack.
"I think as a young guy you just need to understand the situation," Etem said. "We got a lot of depth up here. I think that all the guys that are regulars on this roster deserve to be here. For me, being a young guy I just try to keep my mouth shut, bury my head and work hard. Whatever they tell me to do I'm willing to do. I take pride in being a hometown guy and putting on the Ducks sweater every time I get the opportunity. It's a huge opportunity for me [Wednesday]."
Etem, from nearby Long Beach, is a poster boy for the growth of hockey in California and his re-assignment meant he missed playing in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25. He watched it from Norfolk, Va., with teammates from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
"So surreal," Etem said. "It looked like a World Series game. It was awesome just to see all those lights and the cameras flashing. To see that sold-out crowd, it's almost like I was a part of it in some way or another."
Etem is expected to play Wednesday on a line with Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano to give the Ducks more speed on the forecheck and an even more dangerous penalty-killing unit.
"Quite frankly the one thing the last game [was that] it looked like there was a lack of energy and emotion, whether it be in the building or on the bench, and Emerson's a guy that can bring both of those things to the front," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Chicago did not skate in the morning.
Here are the expected lineups for the Blackhawks and Ducks:
Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Kris Versteeg - Brandon Pirri - Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Brandon Saad
Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith
Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy - Michal Rozsival
Scratched: Sheldon Brookbank, Michael Kostka, Michal Handzus
Injured: Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body/shoulder)
Notes: Crawford reportedly will get the start, giving him starts in each of the first five games of the six-game road trip before the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Dustin Penner - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Emerson Etem - Saku Koivu - Andrew Cogliano
Patrick Maroon - Mathieu Perreault - Teemu Selanne
Matt Beleskey - Daniel Winnik - Kyle Palmieri
Francois Beauchemin - Hampus Lindholm
Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy
Luca Sbisa - Sami Vatanen
Scratched: Bryan Allen, Jakob Silfverberg
Injured: Mark Fistric (lower body), Nick Bonino (upper body), Viktor Fasth (lower body inflammation), Sheldon Souray (wrist)
Notes: Sbisa took line rushes with Vatanen and looks like he'll draw back in. Allen skated with Fistric, who wore a no-contact jersey. Getzlaf and Koivu did not skate but are expected to play. ... Bonino skated and Boudreau said he will have to go "full bore" by Friday in order to play Saturday, Anaheim's last game before the Olympic break.