Josh Manson

Injuries keep mounting for Ducks

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Even though they picked up a big 7-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night the Anaheim Ducks have been in a little bit of a funk over the past couple of weeks, losing four of their past six games.

Adding to the struggles is the fact the injury list is starting to grow a bit.

The team was already playing without forward Ondrej Kase and defender Hampus Lindholm, and on Wednesday general manager Bob Murray announced that another one of their top defenders, Josh Manson, is going to be sidelined for the next 5-10 weeks due to an MCL sprain.

Murray also added updates on Kase (jaw injury) and Lindholm (lower-body) saying that both will remain out of the lineup on a day-to-day basis.

Lindholm skated on Wednesday and is expected to be a full participant in practice on Thursday.

None of the three played in Tuesday’s win against the Jets, and while it seems likely that Kase and Lindholm will be back soon, the news on Manson is obviously a lot more dire. He was injured in the Ducks’ 2-1 loss to the Stars this past week and exited after playing just five minutes.

The Ducks did just acquire Erik Gudbranson from the Pittsburgh Penguins and he will no doubt get some additional minutes and a larger role as long as Manson and Lindholm are sidelined.

They also have one of the league’s best goaltending duos in John Gibson and Ryan Miller to lean on.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Sam Bennett is a bad man

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Maybe Sam Bennett can’t do a pull-up.

But man, the kid knows how to throw his fists around.

After Mike Smith was upended by Derek Grant behind his own net, somehow Bennett and Josh Manson (quite the physical specimen) came together.

The Vegas line would have heavily favored Manson. Bennett was clearly the underdog.

But then Bennett did this (keep your eye on the fight to the right):

What a scrap, indeed.

Not only can Bennett throw, his ability to evade punches is quite remarkable.

Bennett’s not afraid to chuck ’em. He had this spirited scrap with Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba at the tail end of last season.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Ducks bring back d-man Holzer with one-year, $750K deal

Despite the fact he’s never played a game for them, Korbinian Holzer has been re-signed by the Ducks.

Holzer, a trade deadline acquisition from Toronto, has signed a one-year, $750,000 extension with Anaheim, the club announced on Thursday.

The German rearguard suffered a concussion just prior to getting dealt, an injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Though he was eventually cleared to play, that clearance came during the playoffs, making it difficult for Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau to insert Holzer into the lineup.

When healthy, Holzer was a decent contributor for the Leafs. He had six points in 34 games, averaged 17 minutes per night and has good size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds).

In Anaheim, he’ll be battling for a seventh d-man job, possibly with the likes of Josh Manson and former first-round pick Shea Theodore.

More minutes? Timonen will ‘take whatever I get’ after Rozsival injury

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Though he’s largely been a non-factor for Chicago this postseason — averaging just 9:25 TOI per night — Kimmo Timonen says he’s more than ready for an increased workload now that Michal Rozsival is done for the playoffs with a fractured ankle.

“If I get more, I get more. If I don’t, I don’t,” Timonen said, per the Sun-Times. “That’s my role and I’m happy to do it. If it’s seven, eight, 12 minutes — that’s more than I was supposed to play this year anyway.

“I’ll take whatever I get.”

Expect defense to be a major story in the Western Conference Final — specifically, the contrasts between Anaheim and Chicago. The Ducks are feeling great about the health and depth; they’re young, they’re fresh, Hampus Lindholm is emerging as a potential star and, should injury hit, the club is more than capable of dealing — trade deadline pickups James Wisniewski and Korbinian Holzer are sitting as healthy scratches, as are veteran Mark Fistric and youngster Josh Manson.

It’s a far different story in Chicago.

Head coach Joel Quenneville has relied heavily on his top four of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Rozsival was often scrutinized by fans and media, but played an integral role as the No. 5 guy and will now likely be replaced by David Rundblad. The 24-year-old Swede did play a fair bit during the regular season but, as Brough pointed out, received protected minutes and started just 20.6 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone.

Which brings the conversation back to Timonen.

There’s an obvious opportunity here for him to see more ice, given almost all of Rozsival’s minutes were at even strength. The 40-year-old insists he’s feeling great and fit enough to be a factor in the Anaheim series, which might be a necessity given how effectively the Ducks rolled their forwards through the first two playoff rounds.

“I’m probably in the past shape I’ve been in years. I feel great,” Timonen said. “Once I get out there I do my job as well as I can. But it hasn’t been easy. It’s a role I’ve never been through before. It takes a little time to get used to it. It’s a lot of mental thinking.

“Every player wants to play more. When you play more you usually play better.”

Related: Rozsival injury puts Chicago blue line that much more under the microscope

After healthy scratching Fowler, Ducks park Wisniewski

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Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau sent a message Tuesday by sitting Cam Fowler in the press box for an eventual 5-3 loss to Columbus.

Now, is he sending another message to another defenseman?

James Wisniewski, the Ducks’ big trade deadline acquisition, will be scratched tonight when Anaheim takes on Boston at TD Garden. The decision comes with Wisniewsky having played in just eight games for the Ducks, registering no goals, three assists and a minus-4 rating while averaging 20:38 TOI.

The 31-year-old is coming off his heaviest workload since joining the team, however. In the aforementioned loss to his old Blue Jackets squad, Wisniewski played 22:54 and led all Ducks d-men with 4:33 of power play time. That could be part of the reason why he’s out tonight; Boudreau also has defensemen at his disposal and enough healthy bodies to do some lineup tinkering. Simon Despres drew back in for the Columbus game, Korbinian Holzer has yet to make his Ducks debut and the club could always call on rookie d-man Josh Manson, who’s currently with AHL Norfolk but has looked good at times this season.

That said, it’s hard not to look at this healthy scratch as Boudreau sending a message, especially after what Fowler had to say about Tuesday’s scratch.

“With the luxury that we have with eight premium NHL defensemen, sometimes something like this is going to happen,” Folwer explained, per the O.C. Register. “It’s on the individual. It’s on myself. It’s because of my play recently. As hard as it is to say, it’s just the honest truth.

“So when you have guys that can step in any given night, you have to make sure that you bring your ‘A’ game or else something like this can happen. It’s a bit of a wake-up call for sure.”