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Ducks try to regroup before home opener

Team holds an 80-minute meeting before practice Tuesday to iron out things after starting the season 0-3 on the road.

October 12, 2010|By Robyn Norwood

The winless Ducks held a nearly 80-minute meeting before they stepped onto the ice for practice Tuesday.

Considering they're only 180 minutes into the season, that's saying something.

"One thing that happens when you're not having much success is you have lots of meetings," Coach Randy Carlyle said.

The Ducks returned from a three-game trip with an 0-3 record and some hideous statistics entering their home opener Wednesday night against the Vancouver Canucks at the Honda Center.

They have been outscored, 13-2, leaving them last in the NHL in scoring and among the worst in goals against. Their revamped and injury-depleted defense is giving up 48.3 shots per game, most in the league. And they lead the NHL in penalty minutes, not a category a team wants to lead.

There's more, but that's a taste of the Ducks' sour start.

"We definitely needed to sit down and talk and see that everyone was on the same page as to where we go from here," said center Ryan Getzlaf, who replaced the retired Scott Niedermayer as captain and is off to a slow start on the ice. He and linemates Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry have yet to record a point among them.

"We started in some tough buildings. We started on the road. It's not a panic-button time, but it's time to sit back and realize what we've got to do," Getzlaf said.

"Whether you win or lose the game, it's kind of how the game is played, and I think we just need to take a look at the way we played," Getzlaf said.

"It's the fact we're making mental errors here and there that are costing us. Obviously, with the penalties and stuff, especially when you're down in a game, it's hard to come back when you're killing penalties the whole time."

Although the Ducks have had trouble scoring, it's the defense that's the longer-term concern. Some of the few veterans the team has are beset by troubles.

Word came Tuesday that the surgery performed to repair shot-blocker Andy Sutton's broken right thumb is expected to keep him out six to eight weeks.

Toni Lydman, signed as a free agent in the off-season, is skating but has yet to receive medical clearance to play after a preseason episode of double vision.

Lydman said he does not yet have an appointment to reexamine his condition but his unexplained symptoms are "almost gone."

"I'm not sure it's totally gone, but I don't notice anything on the ice," he said.

"It's more just ruling out things that it's certainly not," he said. "Right now, I think most of [the doctors think] it's just a freak migraine.

"They've ruled out pretty much the really, really serious stuff," Lydman said.

In yet another waiting game, Andreas Lilja, a former Detroit defenseman the Ducks acquired to patch their defense, skated with the team Tuesday. But the Swede, whose visa was due to expire Sunday, had not yet received immigration clearance, though Carlyle said there is "a possibility" he would be available this weekend.

"That's wishful thinking, and sometimes immigration has a different timeline than we do as sports teams trying to use an athlete," Carlyle said.

The meeting the Ducks held Tuesday was part video clinic, part talk therapy, Carlyle said.

"The bottom line is, we mope around here and feel sorry for ourselves, all we're going to do is stay in neutral," he said. "Nobody feels good about themselves. We've got work to do and we're professionals and we accept the responsibility for the place we're in and the situation we've created."

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