Cam Fowler’s injury cuts even more into Ducks defense
The blue line was roaring for the Ducks six days ago. Now it’s going out like a lamb to end the regular season.
Their defensive unit was in such good shape last week that it had the luxury to sit Brandon Montour, their most promising young defenseman of late.
As of Wednesday?
The Ducks were struggling to field a six-man group as they waited the results of an MRI exam for Cam Fowler. He suffered a knee-on-knee hit from Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames on Tuesday and the defenseman’s status is not known.
If Fowler is out for significant length, the Ducks would lose their top defenseman scorer who also leads them with nearly 25 minutes per game.
“We’re going to have to do it as a group,” Ryan Getzlaf said. “You’re not going to replace your top D-man with one guy. Cam logs a lot of minutes and makes a lot of plays, so we’re going to have to collectively do it and we’ve got enough here to do it.”
The good news was that Sami Vatanen appears ready to return from an upper-body injury in time for Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I’d like to play some hockey,” Vatanen said. “It should be fine. I think we’ll watch tomorrow morning and see how it feels but everything is feeling pretty good right now.”
Coach Randy Carlyle was also optimistic and had some advice after Vatanen reported he had lingering tightness.
Carlyle said it jokingly as he needs a dose of humor to get through this crisis. In addition to Fowler, the Ducks are without Hampus Lindholm and Korbinian Holzer for the immediate future.
Lindholm is expected to practice Thursday and Carlyle said the defenseman could be an option for Sunday if he has no setbacks from an upper-body injury. Holzer returned to his home in Germany because of a family matter, Carlyle said, and is not expected to be available until the end of the week.
Clayton Stoner is attempting to come back from abdominal surgery but has not been cleared yet, Carlyle said. That leaves the Ducks with only five defensemen, meaning they would need a recall for Thursday.
The Ducks could clinch their fifth straight Pacific Division title with a win and an Edmonton Oilers loss, but that wasn’t at the front of their minds.
Carlyle recalled an observation he made last week.
“We’re going to need nine defensemen,” Carlyle said.
The NHL’s Dept. of Player Safety was not expected to hold a hearing to discuss possible discipline for Giordano, according to multiple reports.
“The biggest travesty, from my standpoint, was there was no penalty called on the play,” Carlyle said. “I’m sure every referee [that] would have a second chance to take a look at it would call a penalty. We can’t carry this beyond today. It’s over.”
Getzlaf also typically doesn’t comment, but he was surprised that no hearing was expected. He later watched replays.
“It’s clearly a knee-on-knee contact,” Getzlaf said. “I want to be clear. I don’t think Giordano’s a dirty player by any means, and I thought it was honorable that he stood up and fought after, like he was supposed to. But it’s still a dangerous play and we’ve got one of our top guys out.”
DUCKS VS. CHICAGO
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Where: Honda Center.
On the air: TV: NBCSN; Radio: 830.
Update: Chicago already has the No.1 seed in the Western Conference locked up. It rested Duncan Keith on Tuesday and Niklas Hjalmarsson sat out that game because of family matters. Defenseman Gustav Forsling was recalled.
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