Derek Grant inching closer to returning to Ducks lineup – Daily News

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 the Wednesday morning skate and said he feels he’s getting closer to coming back.

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

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

“Obviously I want to be on that journey and play those games,” he said.

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

“It’s good to be with someone else…it keeps your mind busy mentally,” Grant said.

QUOTABLE

Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said he referenced snooker in one of his game-day meetings with his players when discussing the New York Rangers.

“For me, I know that the pool game is over. All of our gamers 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 against a high powered group like these guys.”

So do any of the players know what billiards is?

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

WHAT’S MORE

Troy Terry talked about the benefit of the (brief) players-only reunion 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 that tells you we need more from you or whatever the case may be. Teammates hold each other accountable. About everyone. That is where our responsibility should come from.”

REALLOCATED BRANCH

The Ducks started by using six defensemen against the Rangers. The defense pairings 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 1–1. Minutes later, a shot from Rangers defender Adam Fox deflected off Kulikov’s stick, hitting him square in the face. Kulikov immediately returned to the locker room, but returned for the start of the second period and scored just 39 seconds later.

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

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