ANAHEIM–As the Ducks prepare to take aim at the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night, mysterious ailments continue to dominate the subject matter.
Leading-scorer Corey Perry skated off the ice at the start of practice Tuesday at Honda Center, apparently stricken by a lower-body injury that went rather unnoticed until Perry was suddenly gone. Ducks coach Randy Carlyle referred to the injury as a "body ailment" before settling on the intentionally vague NHL classification of lower-body injury.
"I didn’t see anything," Carlyle said. "He didn’t hit anybody. I didn’t see him fall down."
Perry is sixth in the league in both goals (31) and points (68) heading into Tuesday’s games. The Ducks are 11th in the Western Conference, but just one point behind eighth-place Dallas.
News isn’t getting any better for the team's other All-Star, goalkeeper Jonas Hiller, who has missed the last four games and eight of the last nine with a still undiagnosed ailment that’s causing him to feel sluggish and "behind the play."
Doctors have ruled out positional vertigo, he said.
"I don’t feel it in everyday life but on the ice it still doesn’t feel right," Hiller said. "Especially after the intensity gets higher, and the longer practice takes the worse I feel."
Hiller, who practiced with the team for about 45 minutes Tuesday, said the condition often arises after repeatedly turning his head, such as when he follows the puck behind the net.
"That kind of upsets my whole system," he said. "Then, I always feel behind the play because I’m always trying to catch up, and it just seems impossible to be right on time and it always seems to take me a second to realize what’s going on....it’s a weird feeling but definitely not a good feeling, especially for a goaltender."
After missing three games with a sore groin, second-line center Saku Koivu skated for about 30 minutes before practice, Carlyle said, and is close to returning but no date has been set.
With three of the West’s top eight teams coming in over the next five days, the Red Wings, Stars and Canucks, the Ducks need all the healthy bodies they can find.