Referee Steve Kozari signals to the bench for a trainer after Ducks defenseman… (Paul Sancya / Associated…)
Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman, who was injured from a hit by the now-suspended Justin Abdelkader of the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of their playoff series, is improving but is still not close to returning to the lineup.
“He's still got headaches, and he wasn't on the ice today,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “Talking to him this morning, he says he’s feeling a lot better.
Boudreau added that the headaches “are nowhere near as intense as they were. But as to where he is, compared to when he's going to play, I couldn't give you an answer to that.”
Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series between the Ducks and Red Wings is Wednesday night at Honda Center in Anaheim, and it will mark the second game of Abdelkader’s two-game suspension. The series is tied 2-2; game 6 is Friday in Detroit.
Clearly, the Ducks are missing Lydman’s steady leadership and his presence on the penalty-killing unit. But Sheldon Souray, a healthy scratch in Game 3, returned to the lineup, and Boudreau praised his effort in Game 4.
“I think Sheldon stepped in and played the way he played the first 40 games of the year, which was, he was a plus-25 at one point and leading our team in defensive scoring, for a goals standpoint,” Boudreau said. “We miss him [Lydman] because of that veteran calmness, but at the same time, I think Sheldon stepped in and did a great job.”
One of the morning topics in the Ducks’ room was the hugely impressive speed of rookie Emerson Etem.
“Cogs [Andrew Cogliano] is a different kind of fast,” Ducks forward Bobby Ryan said. “When Emmer takes off, he can be four or five strides behind the guy and just push right by you, he’s so explosive. I haven’t seen anybody that quite matches him in that regard yet.
“Emmer is probably a more powerful skater in the first couple of strides, and he gets to that top speed quicker. I think Cogs gets faster as he gets the puck and he starts to weave through traffic. But top-end speed, I think Emmer’s got everybody beat pretty good.”
Etem's explosiveness has caught the Red Wings off guard during this series. Ryan saw it in the off-season.
“I remember watching him do it in a four-on-four pickup game in the summer,” Ryan said. “I remember sitting on the bench with somebody thinking, ‘Was that for real?’ It was pretty impressive.
"When he caught whoever it was to get that breakaway the other night, we just shook our heads on the bench, and we’re like, ‘Good luck.’”
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