Quack of Dawn: TST’s Ducks Morning Report

Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
The Sporting Tribune’s Derek Lee reports from the Ducks’ Saturday practice.

IRVINE, Calif. – The Ducks were back on the ice on Saturday following their 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers last night. It was a result marked by controversy after Jakob Silfverberg’s goal was disallowed upon video review.

As the Ducks pushed for more offense in the third period, head coach Greg Cronin opted to roll with three lines, double-shifting players like Troy Terry and Frank Vatrano.

Cronin admitted after the game that he should have changed the lines up earlier than he did. “I just wanted to distribute some guys that win pucks naturally with guys that are maybe perimeter guys,” he said.

The lines were changed up for Saturday’s practice, with Leo Carlsson—who sat out on Friday as the team continues to manage his workload—returning to his customary spot on the top line. Here’s how the lines shook out:

Frank VatranoLeo CarlssonRyan Strome
Alex KillornMason McTavishMax Jones
Jakob SilfverbergAdam HenriqueTroy Terry
Benoit-Olivier GroulxSam CarrickBrett Leason
Ross JohnstonChase De LeoBrock McGinn
Cam FowlerJackson LaCombe
Pavel MintyukovIlya Lyubushkin
Urho VaakanainenRadko Gudas
Tristan Luneau

Chase De Leo, who suffered a knee injury during a preseason game against the Kings, took part in his first practice since being injured. This isn’t De Leo’s first time back on the ice, but it is his first time going through the motions with other players on the ice alongside him.

“It was awesome. It was fun,” said De Leo. “It sucks—not the most fun—kind of being on your own page. Kind of get into a rhythm, start the season, (get into) training camp and then have that taken away from you, it sucks. Trying to just take it one day at a time while I was out. Not looking too far ahead and driving myself crazy, just trying to heal every day and work on things that I can throughout the whole time.”

De Leo said he watched a lot of video and that he was also present at all of the Ducks’ team meetings during the time that he was out.

“Even though I was away from the group, I still felt like I was part of the group, which is great. So much fun to be back on the ice and at practice.”

Another player who recently returned to the Ducks is Tristan Luneau, who was on a two-week conditioning loan with the San Diego Gulls in the AHL. Luneau played in six games during his time with the Gulls, picking up two assists.

“It was so much fun,” said Luneau. “Just going back to play games, feeling competitive out there, getting my game shape back. You can do all the weightlifting you want, but I think at the end of the day, you get in shape by playing games. I got my legs back, every game was better and better.”

Oct 19, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Tristan Luneau (67) in action against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Luneau said that Ducks management wanted him to work on the same aspects of his game that he had been working on in Anaheim down in San Diego.

“When I went (to San Diego), I told (the coaching staff) what I wanted to work on and they agreed too. That’s what they saw from training camp and those coaches were there for the rookie tournament, so they already knew a bit of my game. We just kept on building what I’ve done for the past two months here in Anaheim.”

World Juniors is next month with training camp for the tournament just a few weeks away. Luneau may have an opportunity to play for Team Canada if given the chance, but he isn’t thinking about that right now.

“It would obviously be sweet to be there and part of that experience,” he said. “But at the same time, anywhere I’m going to be, I’m trying to improve and get the best results for the team as I can. Right now, I’m just trying to focus on the team here and keep my mind where my feet are.”

The Ducks continue their four-game homestand with a matchup against the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 PM PST.