After a 4-3 loss to Colorado on Wednesday, the Ducks have had a couple days to think it over.
Olympians finished off their media obligations on Thursday, something that coach Randy Carlyle was thrilled about.
“From this day forward, that’s something in the past,” said Carlyle. “We’ve got to focus on our task at hand. Get everything put by the wayside today and come to work tomorrow. That will be the end of it. That’s the last we’re going to talk about it.”
So while yesterday’s practice was missing several key players, it was a first look at the two newest defensemen joining the team. Neither Lubomir Visnovsky nor Aaron Ward could make it in time for Wednesday’s game. By the time they landed and arrived at the Honda Center, even the media crew had gone home.
On Thursday they got an introduction to the Ducks system.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of pressure today,” said Ward. “It’s a good chance to familiarize myself. I hadn’t played in 72 hours. I just need to get a little bit out of my legs. It wasn’t my best performance, but I felt like it was good. I got the jitters out.”
Visnovsky seemed thrilled to be in Anaheim and the prospect of playoff hockey once again. He hasn’t seen the post-season since 2002, the last time the Kings made it in.
Both players were treated to a practice with the full roster on Friday morning before heading to Phoenix for Saturday’s game. Another day to get their legs under them and figure out exactly what it is that Carlyle expects out of his defensemen. It also gave Carlyle another day to figure out potential defensive pairings.
“We’re going to try to fit some people together that are going to give us the best chance,” Carlyle commented. “We think we’ve played Niedermayer and Wisniewski too much in the past little while. Hopefully some of these new guys and the guys we have here will come in and take some of those minutes away.”
The Ducks will have their hands full in Phoenix. The Coyotes have been a formidable team this year and made several moves at the trade deadline that should only make them better.
After the listless effort against Colorado, the Ducks need to move forward and put on their “A” game in the one brief game on the road before coming home to eight more games in a row at the Honda Center.
“Right now every game is important,” said goaltender Jonas Hiller. “We have 19 games left and we still have a lot of chances. We have to believe and we have to play better next game.”
Having a full complement of defensemen will help. And one can only hope that by the time Saturday rolls around, the Olympic hangover will be a distant memory.