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Ryan Getzlaf ready to 'ramp it up' at World Cup

Ducks captain expects playoff-type atmosphere with Team Canada next month

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has had a difficult time silencing his critics the past few seasons.

Two of them laid into Getzlaf on Tuesday when he took batting practice across the street from Honda Center at Angel Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

"Daddy, you said you would hit it out of the park!"

"Daddy, you said you would hit a home run!"

Ryder and Gavin Getzlaf, the two oldest children of Ryan and his wife, Paige, gave their father all he could handle while he took his swings. Getzlaf took a few more cuts, scattering some line drives before finally pulling a long line drive to left field. It hooked just around the foul pole for a home run.

Finally satisfied that Daddy made good on his promise, Ryder and Gavin erupted into cheers.

Getzlaf is hoping for a similar reaction in Toronto next month with Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

"We're going into a playoff-type atmosphere, so we've got to be ready to go," Getzlaf said. "We're going to have to ramp it up."

Tweet from @AnaheimDucks: Ryan Getzlaf sends one over the wall in batting practice prior to #DucksNight at Angel Stadium.

It's been an eventful summer for Getzlaf, 31. Paige gave birth to the couple's fourth child, a boy named Mac, and moved from the beach to the Coto de Caza neighborhood in Orange County.

But Getzlaf already has been on the ice for more than a month preparing for the World Cup. He's accelerated his normal training plan with the goal of being in mid-season form before Team Canada starts the World Cup against Team Czech Republic at Air Canada Centre on Sept. 17 (8 p.m. ET; ESPNEWS).

"I tried to simulate what I would do for camp and I've been back working out," Getzlaf said. "I think that the amount of skating and stuff I've been doing is a lot more and it's a lot earlier. These next two weeks are going to be about trying to get up to that speed where we're playing at a high level."

Getzlaf has enlisted the help of Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano and defenseman Clayton Stoner, who live in Orange County year-round.

"Sometimes it helps to have guys that you're comfortable being uncomfortable with, pushing each other a little bit and playing hard," Stoner said. "We haven't done a ton of game-like stuff. It's more like 1-on-1 and working on getting better and getting stronger on the ice. A lot of skill stuff."

Cogliano hasn't backed down from challenging his captain.

"I'm out-skating him, first and foremost," Cogliano said. "I beat him. He needs to chase someone around. But he looks good. I think it's going to help [with the season]. All of those guys coming back are going to be in good shape."

Getzlaf spent the summer of 2015 rehabilitating a sports hernia that he played through during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and then had an appendectomy Oct. 28, 2015. By the middle of the 2015-16 season he seemed back to his old form and went on to lead the Ducks with 50 assists and 63 points in 77 games. The Ducks won the Pacific Division but lost to the Nashville Predators in seven games in the Western Conference First Round. Getzlaf tied for the Ducks lead with five points but questions about his health persisted.

He said he made some minor tweaks to his offseason training plan, with the focus less on adding bulk to his 6-foot-4, 221-pound frame, and more on durability. His health, he says, isn't a concern.

"There wasn't anything a whole lot different that I did, but definitely a few adjustments," Getzlaf said. "It's been a good working summer, I think, getting myself ready and getting my body prepared for the long season, as well as this World Cup. I've tried a couple different training things, a little more of the cardio stuff and not as much heavy lifting. I'm trying to build that endurance up to where my body can take that longevity of a season."

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