Playing in the NHL All-Star game is something to value but, considering how unfriendly the 17-12 game was to goaltenders, perhaps just the invite was best for Frederik Andersen.
"The only fun part would've been the skills part, when you get to shoot into an empty net," the goalie joked Monday as the Ducks prepared for Tuesday's game against the Vancouver Canucks.
"I don't think the goalies had too much fun there. Everyone knows how [the game] is. It's not really for goalies."
Andersen, ranked second in the NHL with 26 wins, said he was told by General Manager Bob Murray that the league had asked if Andersen could replace injured Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for Sunday's game in Ohio.
But Andersen fell ill before Wednesday's home victory over the Calgary Flames and elected to stay home to rest, leaving center Ryan Getzlaf as the lone representative from the team leading the league in points.
"I wish I would have gone, but when you're battling something like that, you've got to prioritize the team here. Maybe next year," Andersen said. "Still a little tired, tough coming back after not skating and being sick."
After needing intravenous fluids to make it through the Calgary game, Andersen said he spent most of the break alternating between his bed and the couch.
Stiff tests await
The Ducks (31-10-6) confront a post-break week of road games against their nearest Pacific Division pursuers (they're at second-place San Jose on Thursday), then return home to play the Chicago Blackhawks.
"Tough three games," center Ryan Kesler said. "We're going to go out there once again and prove to everyone we're the best team in the league."
Coach Bruce Boudreau put his players through an intense 50-minute practice Monday, ensuring that leg-strengthening sprints were part of the routine.
Near the end, Boudreau told the group, "Let's not be satisfied where we are."
"It's a fine line," Boudreau said. "They had four days off. Do you push 'em really hard? But then they're all stiff and not ready to go because they've had four days off. Or have your normal practice, add in a couple drills and hopefully they have their legs … and it's back to normal?"
He chose the latter.
Clayton Stoner returned to practice from a lower-body injury that the team would not disclose and had kept him out of Wednesday's game. The defenseman said he expects to play Tuesday.
Getzlaf had a goal and assist in the All-Star game and was accompanied by his 4-year-old son, Ryder.
"Having my son there, he enjoyed it more than anybody," Getzlaf said. "He loved it, got to be around the locker room. His favorite thing, I think, was the mascot game, more than the actual game. First time I got to share it with my family."
DUCKS AT VANCOUVER
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket. Radio: 830.
Etc.: The three prior meetings between these teams have extended to overtime, with the Ducks winning the last two.