View Original Notice ? Ducks place Rickard Rakell on injured reserve with upper-body injury
LAS VEGAS — The Ducks placed right wing Rickard Rakell on injured reserve Friday because of an unspecified upper-body injury he suffered during their 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at Honda Center. He was hurt during a third-period collision and couldn’t continue.
The Ducks expect to have an update on how long Rakell might be sidelined in the coming days.
Rakell had a team-leading four goals in eight games, including two in their 4-3 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 23. He joined with rookie center Trevor Zegras and left wing Adam Henrique to form a productive second line for the Ducks, and he helped bolster their power play.
The Ducks were already without left wing Max Jones, who is expected to be sidelined for between four and six weeks because of a torn pectoral tendon suffered in their 3-2 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames on Oct. 18. Jones was scheduled to have surgery this week.
Coach Dallas Eakins shuffled his lineup Friday, with Zegras skating between wings Max Comtois and Sonny Milano. Henrique moved up one line, joining center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Troy Terry. Vinni Lettieri was recalled from the Ducks’ AHL team, the San Diego Gulls.
Comtois had three zeroes next to his name going into Friday’s game against the Golden Knights. No goals, no assists, no points. It wasn’t what he or the Ducks expected or needed to start 2021-22, after he led the team with 16 goals and 33 points in the pandemic-altered 2020-21 season.
Comtois was scratched from the lineup for the Ducks’ 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 21 and then was shifted from his top-line assignment to the fourth line for Thursday’s loss to the Sabres. He didn’t record a shot on goal and played only 8:36 against Buffalo, a season-low.
“We’re seeing frustration and I think that’s natural,” Eakins said. “He’s trying to find his game. Maybe a step slow. Maybe not trusting his instincts. Over-thinking things. This guy’s game has got to be a simple one. He just needs to finish. We have no interest in his passes. He doesn’t need to pass the puck.
“That’s the centerman’s job. We just want him to put it into the net.”
Defenseman Simon Benoit’s hockey odyssey continued on Thursday, when he scored his first NHL goal in his eighth career game. Eakins was there when Benoit, 23, arrived on a tryout basis to the Ducks’ developmental camp in the summer of 2018, and he was there Friday to witness his first goal.
“Incredible,” Eakins said. “I don’t know if anybody remembers, but that kid showed up at a development camp on a tryout and then he got a tryout to rookie camp, then he got a tryout to main camp and then was able to sign an American Hockey League contract. And then after a year or two, he got an NHL contract.
“And now he’s suddenly scored his first goal. That kid’s resilience, his discipline, the amount of work he’s put in to get here is an unbelievable testament to him. Anybody that is looking to get better in any part of their life should just look at that kid with his dedication and discipline. It’s quite amazing.”