ANAHEIM – A lot of them head to tropical locales, the geographic shift no more jarring than exchanging ice skates for flip-flops, a frozen job for a frozen drink.
Cam Fowler went to Cabo San Lucas, the defenseman using the Ducks’ mandated bye week to travel from the fringe of the playoffs to the edge of the Earth.
“The hardest part is turning your mind back on to hockey,” he said Friday, after reuniting with his teammates for practice. “It’s easy to kind of get into that summer mode. But it doesn’t take long. I mean, we play in L.A. now. Things ramp up quickly.”
You think? The only way the NHL could have ramped up the Ducks and Kings any faster is by having them meet Saturday in an octagon instead of at Staples Center.
That still could happen, of course, explaining the presence of Jared Boll in the Ducks’ locker room.
The hardened 6-foot-3, 205-pound winger was recalled from San Diego on Friday and might be in the lineup against the Kings.
Boll wouldn’t be added because of his scoring touch, this being a player with 28 goals in parts of 11 seasons. Instead, Boll’s appeal is the nearly 22 hours he has earned in NHL penalty boxes.
In other words, the play could turn a little rough on what’s being called “Hockey Day SoCal” because “Contusion Day SoCal” is probably too graphic.
“I don’t think they like us very much,” captain Anze Kopitar said Friday of the Ducks, following the Kings’ reconvening in El Segundo. “And I don’t think we like them very much, obviously.”
These teams have met twice this season, the Kings winning both in November – in overtime and in a shootout.
The Ducks blew two two-goal leads in the first game and a 1-0 advantage in the final two minutes of the second game.
So, one of the teams already is frustrated plenty, and that’s not counting the fact the Ducks lost their finale before the break by allowing Calgary to score the deciding goal with 16 seconds left.
“Those are the kinds of things,” Coach Randy Carlyle said, “that make it really hurt.”
Added up, there were four fights in the first two Ducks/Kings games, the combatants including everyone from Boll to teammate Andrew Cogliano, who drops his gloves about as often as Switzerland does.
There also was an incident that resulted in Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid receiving a 5-minute interference penalty and game misconduct for a hit that obliterated Ducks forward Ondrej Kase.
“It’s always a physical game,” Kopitar said….