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Emerson Etem skates with team, to be activated for Ducks' home opener

The 21-year-old from Long Beach suffered a lower-leg injury in a Sept. 20 exhibition. Ducks are hopeful he fulfills his potential and brings 'the crowd to its feet at times.'

October 08, 2013|By Lance Pugmire

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Emerson Etem returned to skating with his Ducks teammates Tuesday morning and is prepared to be activated for the team's regular-season home opener Thursday against the New York Rangers at Honda Center.

"I'm feeling good, I'm ready.… I feel healthy, as good as I've been in a while, that's my threshold," Etem said after the Tuesday morning skate at Honda Center. "If I feel I can manage what I've got — and I can — I feel like I'm ready to play."

Etem, 21, suffered a lower-leg injury after scoring a goal Sept. 20 in San Jose. Etem collided with San Jose's Raffi Torres.

He stayed in Anaheim as the Ducks opened the regular season with a 2-1 record against Colorado, Minnesota and Winnipeg, and a roster spot was cleared Monday when the Ducks moved center Peter Holland to minor league Norfolk (Va.).

"He looked pretty good," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said of Etem after using him with center Nick Bonino and Matt Beleskey/Patrick Maroon. "It was a good idea to leave him behind and let him get all that extra work."

Boudreau won't overstate the potential of Long Beach's Etem, but it's high after he followed three regular-season goals last season with three more in the Ducks' first-round, seven-game series loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

"I'm excited he brings an element to our team … I know he's going to work really hard, absorb everything we tell him," Boudreau said. "The one thing you can't dictate is the type of numbers he's going to put up.… We're not going to measure him in terms of how many goals and assists.

"We're going to measure him on how he helps the penalty killing, how he's going to help at times we need that energy guy, the guy who can skate, get in on the forecheck and bring the crowd to its feet at times."

Etem anticipates the debut.

"I took from that playoff experience and built on it in exhibition season," Etem said. "I'm going to work past this, and keep on with the consistency."

Other ailments

Sidelined Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa (ankle) did not skate Tuesday and said he hopes to play in the three-game homestand finale Oct. 16 against Calgary.

Sbisa said he has been impressed by how 19-year-old rookie Hampus Lindholm has performed in his absence, playing 18:41 thus far.

"He's played with a lot of confidence," Sbisa said. "Watching him carrying the puck up the ice, he's not afraid of responsibility and that shows other players and management he wants the spot."

Forward Kyle Palmieri sat out practice Tuesday after being hurt on the trip (upper-body injury).

Road review

After being smoked 6-1 in the opener at Colorado, the Ducks rallied with an overtime victory at Minnesota and a back-to-back win at Winnipeg.

Some Ducks said they "might've needed" that opening rout to find their focus.

"They've got character, they want to win, and after everybody saw film of the Colorado game, they weren't too happy with themselves with the pride they have," Boudreau said. "I didn't have to say much," after the opener, "we all knew we weren't good. But it's only one game and our record after three games last year," when the Ducks started 20-3-3, "was 2-1."

Throwback night

Viktor Fasth wore an old-school hockey mask in practice Tuesday like the one original Mighty Ducks goalie Guy Hebert used to wear, preparing for the "Throwback Night" on Sunday commemorating the franchise's first win 20 years earlier.

As many as 15 members of the first Mighty Ducks team will attend, some concession items will be priced at 93 cents, and the arena will be decorated in a 1993 theme.

"I love all of this stuff," Boudreau said. "They've done such a great job with this whole thing."

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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