There might be time off between games, but it is never quiet in Ducks land.
Jonas Hiller has officially been put on IR, retroactive to February 3. Hiller had a horrible beginning to last Wednesday’s game against the Sharks. He let in three goals in the first 11 minutes and was promptly shown the bench in favor of Curtis McElhinney. Hiller admitted he did not feel quite right and missed the next few days of practice and did not play against Colorado on Saturday.
Hiller reported continued fatigue and lightheadedness, and did not practice again until Tuesday with the team.
“It was all right,” Hiller reported after practice. “It was different. It still doesn’t feel 100 percent, but it was good to be back on the ice. I’m still not quite there. I’m definitely feeling better. I still feel a little off, but I really hope it’s not going to get worse tonight and we can go forward from here.”
While it was hoped the Hiller would be available on Wednesday against Vancouver, the last thing you want is a goaltender having that loopy, spacy feeling in net.
IR requires a minimum absence of one week, so Hiller will remain out until at least Thursday with his next available game to be Friday in Calgary.
“Obviously, we’re going to make sure that he feels 110 percent,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “It seems like now he’s on his way to recovery.”
In the interim, Timo Pielmeier has been called up to back up McElhinney. Pielmeier also joined the team for the Colorado game before being sent back down again to the ECHL.
McElhinney earned a shut out in Colorado, and if he continues on a roll, Hiller and the Ducks have nothing to worry about while Hiller is less than 100%.
In other goaltending news, the Ducks have signed Ray Emery to a two-way contract. Emery had to clear waivers before being sent down to Syracuse.
Emery, 28, has not played any hockey since having hip surgery in April 2010.
“Ray Emery has been a solid NHL netminder for several years and is only 28 years old,” said Ducks GM Bob Murray. “We are going to give him a chance to go to Syracuse and establish himself again. He’s worked hard to get back into shape and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
Emery has not had a quiet, unassuming career to this point. He spent his first seasons with the Ottawa Senators, and most notably was in net when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in June 2007. By next June the Senators waived hiim and bought out his contract, having long since tired with his antics both on and off the ice.
The antics included a three game suspension for high sticking Maxim Lapierre in the face during a game. (Yes, the same Lapierre who now wears a Ducks uniform.) He’s been in not one, but two fights in the same game. He’s shown up late to practices. He’s fought with teammates in practice. He’s had controversial mask artwork.
One can only hope he has matured since then. Certainly he has had enough time off recovering from serious surgery to contemplate his past behaviour.
“I’m really excited to be back,” said a seemingly more humble Emery. “I definitely appreciate things more. I appreciate my body more, knowing that it’s not always going to be there for me and having that scare of thinking I might have played my last game.”
How long Emery will be in Syracuse is unknown, but he will need some time to get back into game shape. He does add depth to the Ducks roster, though.
In other notes: Aaron Voros was placed on waivers to make room for Ryan Getzlaf who will be coming off IR and playing on Wednesday night in Vancouver.