Reviving the rest-versus-rust debate, the NHL on Tuesday released two possible schedules for the Ducks' second-round playoff series against the Calgary Flames, and both include longer breaks than the Ducks find ideal.
This much is sure: the Ducks will open at Honda Center on Thursday — their fifth game in 19 days — and will play Game 2 on Sunday at home.
If Tampa Bay defeats Detroit in Game 7, the Ducks will play Game 3 in Calgary on Tuesday. If Detroit advances, Game 3 will be May 6. In either case, Game 4 will be played May 8 at Calgary. Games 5-6-7, if necessary, will be May 10 at Anaheim, May 12 at Calgary and May 14 at Anaheim.
That's a lot of time off for the Ducks, who had a light late-season schedule and four free days before the playoffs. They will have had a week off after their first-round sweep of Winnipeg.
"I'm antsy so I've got to believe they're antsy," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of his players.
The Ducks have been able to recover from their rugged series against Winnipeg but they'd prefer to follow a steady rhythm.
"I think everyone in here would rather play every other day, like we did last series, just because we've had a lot of time off since April," center Nate Thompson said Tuesday, after the team practiced at Honda Center. "Even at the end of the regular season we had a lot of time off.
"But I think it will be all right. It's always good to get a little bit more days and rest for guys that are banged up. We dealt with some time off before the first series and I thought we handled it pretty well."
Goaltender Frederik Andersen said he's glad to know the dates of the first two games, even if TV and arena issues have muddied the rest.
"I don't get rattled by that stuff," he said. "It's good we know when we're playing again, instead of walking around not knowing. It's not anything in this locker room that we've got to worry about. That's not our jobs."
As they see it, at least they're still playing.
"You could be somewhere else," right wing Corey Perry said. "We're looking forward to it and it should be exciting."
Simon Despres is not looking back
Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford, whose team was eliminated by the New York Rangers, told Pittsburgh media Tuesday he had some second thoughts about trading defenseman Simon Despres to the Ducks for defenseman Ben Lovejoy.
"The one move I question," he said, was dealing Despres, 23, for Lovejoy, 31, to get experience and a right-handed shooter.
Despres, who couldn't win a regular job with the Penguins, is a top-four defenseman with the Ducks and has thrived paired with Cam Fowler. A left-handed shooter who has been playing the right side, Despres averaged 18 minutes and seven seconds' ice time against Winnipeg with two assists and a plus-one defensive rating.
"It's something that I, for one, did not control. I did not make the decision," Despres said of the trade. "What happened in the past is in the past. I'm looking forward. I'm not looking in the past."
He looks comfortable on the ice but acknowledged he's not quite settled here.
"It's a new city. It's a new team. It's been what, two three months?" he said. "What if I told you that you were going to go live in the Maritimes, at the other end of the continent? It would take a while to get used to it. I'm still getting used to it. I'm enjoying my time in California. I'm working hard to be the best I can be, to help the team win."
Thompson, who sat out the Winnipeg series because of an upper-body injury that the team would not reveal, has been completing full practices. Boudreau said Thompson will be a game-time decision for Game 1. Boudreau also said goalie John Gibson is fine after sitting out the Winnipeg series because of an undisclosed upper-body injury.