Sports

Ducks put differences aside, welcome Stephane Robidas

Anaheim DucksSportsStephane RobidasRyan GetzlafBen LovejoySidney CrosbyEvgeni Malkin

 

When Corey Perry extended his hand to Stephane Robidas on Thursday, for once it wasn't in anger.

The combative players have gotten under each other's skin frequently over the years, but they put their hostilities aside when the Ducks acquired Robidas from Dallas this week.

"He came and shook my hand and it's all good," Robidas said after his first practice with his new team. "He's a competitor. He's a great player. And playing against him, you've always got to watch him. It's not easy to play against him. I'm just happy that I don't have to watch him anymore."

Robidas — acquired for his feisty nature, experience and right-handed shot — is targeting March 14 for his return from a broken leg suffered Nov. 29. He said he felt good Thursday after doing stops and starts, crossovers, and skating backward. The Ducks acquired him for a conditional 2014 fourth-round draft pick; if they win two playoff rounds and he plays in 50% of those games, the pick will become a third-rounder.

The 37-year-old Quebec native acknowledged it was difficult to leave Dallas, where he spent parts of 11 seasons and where his son was born, but he's ready for a new start. "I'm happy to be here now and I can definitely move on and keep going and hopefully we go for that Cup," he said.

Defenseman Ben Lovejoy is equally glad to have Robidas on his side. "He's a shorter guy but plays a huge game," Lovejoy said of the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Robidas. "He has [ticked] off so many forwards in this room over the 13 months that I've been here that I think everybody's excited to never play against him again and have him doing those things for our team."

That includes Perry, who said his dislike for Robidas developed through years as a division rival. "You're playing against those players so many times a year, you're going to start to hate players," he said. "That's just the nature of the game."

Penguin sighting

Center Ryan Getzlaf said the Ducks welcome Friday's game against the East-leading Penguins, led by Sidney Crosby — Getzlaf's gold-medal teammate in Sochi — and the dangerous Evgeni Malkin. "It's nice when we can come out and test ourselves against the East and see how we measure up and make sure that we're competing with that side of the league as well," Getzlaf said.

But shouldn't the Penguins measure themselves against the NHL-leading Ducks?

"Any publication that you look at, it's the other way around," said Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau. "We play really hard and that's got us to where we are. But any time you've got the likes of Malkin and Crosby coming into town, you've got to think they're the favorites everywhere they go."

Boudreau said Pittsburgh's up-tempo game will be a good challenge. "If you can play with them, you can play with anybody as far as speed goes and then you look at the other teams that are really physical, we've played well against those physical teams," he said, citing the Kings and St. Louis. "You'll know you'll be able to put lineups together that combat both."

DUCKS VS. PITTSBURGH

When: 7.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.

Etc.: Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne, out Wednesday because of the flu, practiced Thursday and will be available Friday…. Defenseman Sami Vatanen (undisclosed injury) will be out about two weeks…. The Ducks recalled center Rickard Rakell from Norfolk (Va.) of the American Hockey League.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

Twitter: @helenenothelen

 

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Anaheim DucksSportsStephane RobidasRyan GetzlafBen LovejoySidney CrosbyEvgeni Malkin
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