Bobby Ryan was treated with kid gloves upon his first appearance on skates in the Mighty Ducks’ training camp. But the special handling of the Ducks’ first-round pick in the July entry draft was for good reason: the power forward prospect has been nursing an injured left shoulder.
While he would have rather been throwing his 6-foot-1, 225-pound frame around Thursday, the 18-year-old Ryan said he was simply happy to skate among NHL veterans before heading back to junior hockey for another year of seasoning.
“I think I’m seeing the commitment it takes to be at the next level,” said Ryan, who injured the shoulder during a World Junior Championships evaluation camp in August. “Not so much their skating ability but how the pace is quicker, how the passes are sharper.”
Ryan, the No. 2 overall pick behind phenom Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, said he will be re-examined today and hopes to play in an exhibition next week. He is scheduled to return to the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League, where he had 37 goals and 52 assists last season.
“I think it’s one of those things where you try to educate your younger players into what our expectations are to become a pro,” Duck Coach Randy Carlyle said.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Duck player representative, said he planned to take a team vote on the ratification of Ted Saskin as the new executive director of the NHL Players Assn., given that many players voiced their displeasure with how the top lieutenant to former union head Bob Goodenow was promoted.
Giguere and several teammates were recently on a conference call with union President Trevor Linden and executive committee members Bob Boughner and Dallas Star forward Bill Guerin to get information on the secret ballot vote.
“They just want to know why he’s the right guy and why he deserves to make that much money,” said Giguere, who plans to send back the Ducks’ ballot by Tuesday.
Steve Shields, who was brought in to compete with Ilya Bryzgalov for the backup goalie job, did not practice because of a strained chest muscle.... Defenseman Jason Marshall returned to practice Wednesday after sitting out two days because of a badly swollen right eye suffered Saturday.... With games tonight, Saturday and Sunday, a number of veteran players will get tonight off. Duck prospects Curtis Glencross, Zenon Konopka and Chris Kunitz will play for the first time along with recent acquisitions Craig Adams and Travis Moen.