Havelid, Trnka a Dynamic Duo
Niclas Havelid and Pavel Trnka have made Fredrik Olausson expendable, at least for the moment.
The Ducks are going to sit Olausson, a 37-year-old defenseman, until he can get himself into shape to play. The Ducks will go with six defensemen for the time being. It’s a luxury that Havelid and Trnka for the most part have made possible.
Havelid has two goals and five points, with one goal and two assists on the power play. He had taken over on the top power-play unit even before Olausson was sidelined.
“The biggest surprise I’ve had this season has been Havelid,” Coach Mike Babcock said. “I already thought he was good. That I’m surprised by his play shows how good he has been.”
Havelid had some dicey moments in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers. Twice during the game, he turned the puck over deep in Duck territory and had to be bailed out by goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
A groin injury had Trnka on injured reserve when the season started. He wasn’t activated until before the Columbus game last Thursday.
Trnka assisted on Jason Krog’s game-tying goal against Columbus and on Petr Sykora’s goal against Atlanta on Sunday.
The Ducks will miss forward Mike Leclerc more than when they lost center Adam Oates. At least when Oates went down with a broken hand, Matt Cullen was around to move to center, giving the Ducks experience in the middle.
Leclerc, who is out three to four weeks after knee surgery, leaves a bigger hole ... one that is 6 feet 2 and 215 pounds.
Forward Alexei Smirnov, a 6-4, 218-pound rookie, has the size to fill some of that void. But he has been inconsistent, as rookies tend to be. He has one goal and one assist, but both came in the season opener against St. Louis.
“He doesn’t play on the penalty kill or power play, that’s a long time between shifts,” Babcock said. “Sometimes he goes to sleep on us. That’s not his fault. I have to find a way to get work for him.”