Los Angeles Hockey: Maxine Macenauer

Ducks: Jonas Hiller getting back to old self

September, 19, 2011
HillerJohn E. Sokolowski/US PresswireJonas Hiller, who suffered from vertigo last season, was back between the pipes for the Ducks during a practice session Monday. The photo above was from a game last January in Toronto.

ANAHEIM — Jonas Hiller was back in his familiar workplace Monday morning at Honda Center, patrolling the goal crease in a game-like situation.

Never mind that the other team consisted of fellow members of the Ducks, or that he had little time to warm up before the 60-minute scrimmage, or that he didn’t get much action while rotating with two other goalies, Hiller was just glad to be back between the posts.

Hiller was sidelined with vertigo for much of the second half of last season. He started just three games following his first All-Star appearance in late January, and was pulled early in two after allowing a flurry of goals.

The lack of preparation and activity left Hiller feeling "alright" about his participation in the scrimmage, which was won by Hiller’s opponents, 6-1. That’s a lot better than the way he felt last spring, when his ability to track the puck slipped away in a haze of lightheadedness and uncertainty.

“Still not everything feels exactly the same, but I think it was also like that before,” he said. “I’m pretty happy with the way it’s going right now and I’m definitely looking forward to playing the first game.”

Hiller didn’t know when he’d make his first appearance in a preseason exhibition game, and Ducks coach Randy Carlyle wouldn’t say, but Hiller said the sooner the better.

“I might not mind not going on the road, though,” he said with a smile.

After last season ended with the Ducks losing to the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs, Hiller wanted to get as far away from Honda Center as he could. He went home to his native Switzerland and spent the next three months just relaxing and visiting with friends and family. Other than a week in July, he stayed off the ice until the middle of August.

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