Ducks' Devante Smith-Pelly new center of attention

Devante Smith-Pelly, typically a right wing, will play center for the Ducks against Boston on Monday

Devante Smith-Pelly’s new position as center has an uncertain lifespan.

But it’ll continue Monday night at Honda Center against the Boston Bruins, as Smith-Pelly skated in the morning with forwards Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg at his side.

Typically a right wing, Smith-Pelly said he’s been used at center during his time in the Ontario Hockey League and briefly in minor-league Norfolk.

“Obviously a big difference, but hoping to get better,” Smith-Pelly said. “I’ve got to think a little more, more responsibility throughout the ice.”

He lost eight of 10 faceoffs Saturday.

“It’s different, a learning curve, trying to get better at it,” Smith-Pelly said. “Cogs and [Silfverberg] are pretty responsible defensively, so they can cover me up.”

Although Rickard Rakell and minor-leaguer William Karlsson can also play center, Smith-Pelly said he’s unsure how long his time at center will last. Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau also balked at putting a timetable on the shift.

“We like the way he’s played there and want to see how he does,” Boudreau said. “Big-bodied guy, knows how to play, responsible in his own zone, moves his feet a lot more when he’s playing center. Really good centermen are hard to find.

“If he can make the transition, great.”

STONER NEEDS ANOTHER GAME OFF: Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner said following his second practice as he recovers from the mumps that breathing in exertion at times feels like doing so “through a straw.”

Stoner said he’ll miss his fifth consecutive game Monday and is being targeted to play in Wednesday’s home game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The third Anaheim player felled by the disease, Stoner said recovering from the effects is problematic.

“Once you start working out, you realize it took more out of you than you thought,” Stoner said. “Full practice tomorrow, hopefully [play] Wednesday, but no guarantees. It’s on how you feel.”

MORE ON HEALTH FRONT: An upper-body injury suffered by backup goalie Jason LaBarbera in Saturday’s loss at San Jose prompted Ducks goalie coach Dwayne Roloson to practice in net at Monday’s morning skate.

Goalie Igor Bobkov arrived from minor-league Norfolk after the practice and is scheduled to back up Frederik Andersen in Monday’s game.

Defenseman Ben Lovejoy, out five weeks with a fractured finger, said he’s awaiting a positive X-ray to be cleared to resume playing. Lovejoy has begun passing the puck, but not shooting yet.

Ducks leaders Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were given the morning skate off merely for rest, Boudreau said.

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