Six-Day Break Arrives at Just the Right Time

With the NCAA West Regional taking over the Arrowhead Pond this week, the playoff-bound Mighty Ducks do not play again until Sunday when they play host to Vancouver.

It will be their longest break of the season and it could not come at a better time, considering that they completed a grueling stretch of eight games in 12 nights with Monday’s 5-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“We have played a lot lately and this time off will get us a chance to get some good practices under our belt,” defenseman Niclas Havelid said.

“That’s what we need. We have to get our legs and skating back.”


For Coach Mike Babcock, the late-season practice time will give him an opportunity to work on his team’s foundation.

“We’ll get a chance to work [Rob Niedermayer and Steve Thomas] in practice,” Babcock said. “We haven’t had any real practices since our marathon of hope got started.... I’m not happy with anything we’re doing right now but I think we’ll be able to fine-tune it quickly.”


The Ducks hope to get defenseman Ruslan Salei, sidelined since March 5 because of a back strain, and forward Andy McDonald, who has missed 32 games because of post-concussion syndrome, back in the lineup before the playoffs, but neither player is skating yet.