Monday, June 24, 2024

Derek Grant drawing closer to return to Ducks’ lineup

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ANAHEIM — Ducks forward Derek Grant hasn’t played since Nov. 3, out of the lineup with an upper-body injury. He was on the ice for Wednesday’s morning skate and he said he feels he is getting closer to returning.

“I feel better every day,” Grant said. “It’s kind of a slow recovery. It’s nice to be out skating with those guys. We play every second day now. Hopefully, each day I’ll take a bigger step and get in.”

The Ducks play at home on Friday and again Sunday before leaving on a four-game trip, which begins Tuesday in Nashville. Grant said he has set that trip as a “goal in my head.”

“Obviously I want to be on that trip and playing in those games,” he said.

Grant was not on the recent three-game trip and said he watched one of the two St. Louis games with injured defenseman Jamie Drysdale, who is recovering from shoulder surgery.

“It’s good to be with somebody else … keeps your mind mentally engaged,” Grant said.


Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said he made a reference to snooker in one of the day-of-game meetings with his players in talking about the New York Rangers.

“For me, I know the game of snooker has gone way past. All of our players play video games,” Eakins said. “I used to go play snooker and snooker was all about what you left on that table and we don’t want to leave anything out there against a high-powered group like these guys.”

So, do any of the players know what snooker is?

“I brought it up and I saw a lot of blank faces and I knew I needed to move on,” he said.


Troy Terry spoke about the benefit of the (brief) players-only meeting after the loss in St. Louis on Saturday.

“The coach can tell you whatever and you can have it in your head,” he said. “There’s something about one of your teammates telling you that we need more from you or whatever the case is. Teammates holding each other accountable. It brings everyone closer. That’s where our accountability needs to come from.”


The Ducks started out using six defensemen against the Rangers. The defense pairs were Cam Fowler-Dmitry Kulikov; Simon Benoit-John Klingberg; and Colton White-Kevin Shattenkirk.

Kulikov had the secondary assist on Mason McTavish’s first-period goal at 9:22, which tied the score at 1-1. Minutes later, a shot from Rangers defenseman Adam Fox deflected off Kulikov’s stick and hit him in the face. Kulikov went immediately back to the dressing room, but he came back for the start of the second period and scored just 39 seconds into it.

Defenseman Austin Strand was reassigned to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls on Tuesday. With the Ducks, he played in five games and was a minus-two, averaging 12:24 of ice time.

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