Ducks: Back home after European tour
October, 10, 2011
By Dan Arritt | ESPNLosAngeles.com
ANAHEIM -- Body clocks are one thing, reality is another.
The Ducks returned to work Monday morning at Honda Center, still trying to shake loose the jet lag following their season openers over the weekend in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden.
They spent about 60 minutes practicing before finishing up with an off-ice workout.
“They are tired,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “You can see it.”
The Ducks came away with a split against the Sabres and Rangers. They lost to Buffalo, 4-1, in Finland on Friday night, took the half-hour flight to Stockholm, opening their hotel room doors about 3 a.m., Carlyle said.
That evening, they beat the Rangers in a shootout, 2-1, and promptly boarded another plane for the 15-hour trek back to Los Angeles, landing about 7 a.m. Sunday morning.
When he originally drew up the practice schedule last summer, Carlyle penciled in Monday as a practice day, but then changed his mind after looking closer at the European leg of the schedule.
He changed his mind again after conferring with Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.
“He thought it was better if we skated today and then took tomorrow off,” Carlyle said. “We made the adjustment, we have that ability in this building and I thought it was probably a better move than taking today off. It was good to get them back out there.”
The Ducks don’t play again until Friday, when they host San Jose in their home opener. The game against the Sharks will be the first of three games in four days, however.
“The schedule is not doing us any favors right now, but that’s part of the NHL,” Carlyle said. “When you make those commitments to participate in Europe, that’s what you deal with.”
Lydman getting close to return
Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman, who has yet to play this season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, could be ready as soon as this weekend, Carlyle said.
Lydman was scheduled to see a specialist in Los Angeles later Monday, and that would likely set the timeline for his return. Lydman was originally given a 16-week recovery period, Carlyle said. He had the surgery 18 weeks ago.
Lydman would be a valuable addition to a defensive unit that’s already off to a good start. He finished tied for second in the league last season with a plus-32 rating and was sixth in blocked shots (178).
Another veteran defenseman, Kurtis Foster, who underwent a surgical procedure during training camp to remove a piece of wire left in his thigh from a previous surgery, is “very close to being ready to play some games,” Carlyle said.
The Ducks acquired Foster from the Edmonton Oilers over the summer in a trade for defenseman Andy Sutton.
Over the weekend, the Ducks further added to the organization’s depth on the blue line by trading for Kyle Cumiskey of the Avalanche. The Ducks sent defenseman Jake Newton to Colorado, as well as rights to their seventh-round pick in 2013. Two years ago, Cumiskey led the Avalanche defensemen with seven goals.
Cumiskey, described by Carlyle as a "very quick, puck-moving defenseman,” will be sent to Anaheim’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse once he passes a physical. The 24-year-old from British Columbia figures to have a higher upside in his offensive game than Newton, who grew up in San Jacinto in Riverside County. Whether he'll ever get an opportunity to display his skills for the Ducks is difficult to determine.
“Right now, we’ve got lots of defensemen so, it’s tough,” Carlyle said.
European power-play shortage
It’s only two games into the season, but the top two lines for the Ducks, considered the strength of the team, have yet to register a point.
Just as noticeable, the Ducks are 0-for-11 on the power play, an area where they had the third-best success rate in the league last season.
“That’s not a very good stat and our guys know it,” Carlyle said. “We did a lot of good things with it but we weren’t rewarded and the pressure does come when you don’t deliver.”