Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler returned to skating Monday after a fall at practice last week and said his possible return to playing by Thursday’s regular season opener at Pittsburgh is a “day-by-day thing.”
“Just keep improving is all we’re worried about, and when that time comes, we’ll make a decision,” Fowler said. “Getting on the ice is a positive thing. When you can do that, you know you’re headed in the right direction.”
Fowler, who plays with Ben Lovejoy on the Ducks’ top defensive pair, understands Pittsburgh’s NHL MVP Sidney Crosby awaits Anaheim in a few days. If he’s not ready, Ducks’ free-agent acquisition Clayton Stoner played alongside Lovejoy on Saturday and practiced with him on Monday.
Fowler skated separately from the team.
“Haven’t felt much pain, headed in the right direction,” Fowler said of the lower body injury he didn’t specify. “I knew it wasn’t something that’s going to keep me out for a long time. You do the due process … .”
LINES TAKING SHAPE: In Monday’s practice, center Ryan Getzlaf remained with Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon on the Ducks’ top line as Dany Heatley remained sidelined by a groin injury. Heatley will accompany the Ducks on the road trip, Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Top offseason acquisition Ryan Kesler centered a second line with Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg.
Rickard Rakell and William Karlsson, contending for the third center’s spot, skated with Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly.
And Nate Thompson was center on the fourth line with physical forwards Matt Beleskey and Tim Jackman.
Kyle Palmieri (ankle injury) did not practice or skate and his participation on the trip was not finalized as of Monday afternoon, Boudreau said. The Ducks board a flight to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
ROSTER MOVE: The Ducks sent goalie Jason LaBarbera to minor-league Norfolk after he cleared waivers, putting the roster at 26 players.
LaBarbera played in the Ducks’ split-squad victory at Colorado two weeks ago, allowing two goals in a win. He’s expected to share time as Norfolk goalie with Igor Bobkov.