ANAHEIM — Ducks forward Adam Henrique looked to be channeling his inner Patrick Eaves, showing impressive beard growth in the time he has been out of the lineup with an injured knee.
Still, his former teammate, Eaves, set the facial hair bar quite high back in the day.
“That will take a long time,” Henrique said, of approaching Eaves. “It (the beard) is something I’ve been working on, I guess, the whole time I’ve been out. Not much else to do.”
The state of Henrique has been trending in a positive way. He was able to finally take part in a meaningful practice, at the morning skate at Honda Center, for the first time since suffering the injury on Feb. 21 at Tampa Bay.
After Saturday night’s game against the St. Louis Blues, there will be nine games remaining in the regular season and Henrique is competing with the calendar. The veteran doesn’t have anything to prove at this stage of his career, but he explained on Saturday morning why he is pushing to return.
“It’s just more for me,” said Henrique, who had 19 goals and 14 assists in 57 games. “The timeline and the time left in the season – it’s pretty close. We’ve taken steps, the progression of where we think we will be and where we are at times. Things have come along well.
“I think it’s just more for me to get a couple of games where it’s more peace of mind really. I’m not trying to rush back for anything. On a personal note, I want to be healthy going into the summer and not have to worry about anything. Part of that would be to get a couple of games in. Where you can be out there and play and not have any doubt or think about the knee.”
Ducks coach Dallas Eakins was able to get out on the ice on Friday with Henrique, who was skating before practice.
“He’s inching along and he seems hungry to play,” Eakins said. “We’ll see where that goes. Any time a guy has been out that long, his teammates are always happy to see him.”
Frank Vatrano wasn’t available to talk after the Ducks-Winnipeg Jets game on Thursday – the Ducks forward has scored in back-to-back games – but had an excellent reason for trying to leave Honda Center as fast as possible. His wife Rebecca was due to give birth in the upcoming days.
Their first child – daughter Ophelia – was born Saturday morning and Vatrano missed Saturday night’s game against the Blues. It was the first game Vatrano, who has 36 points (18 goals, 18 assists), has missed this season. Trevor Zegras, Ryan Strome and Cam Fowler are the only Ducks to have appeared in every game this season.
Rebecca and Frank Vatrano welcomed their first child into the world today!
A baby girl named Ophelia.
Frank will be out of the lineup tonight. pic.twitter.com/QEKOPibszV
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) March 25, 2023
Ducks center Mason McTavish keeps a close eye on the progress of his good friend and former Team Canada teammate Kent Johnson of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Johnson, who played two years at the University of Michigan, happened to score a dazzling lacrosse-style goal, a “Michigan,” against the visiting New York Islanders on Friday night.
McTavish: “It’s probably the goal of the year.”
27 years after “The Michigan Goal” was born by Mike Legg, a 20-year-old who played at @umichhockey just pulled it off in the @NHL.
What a goal by @BlueJacketsNHL forward Kent Johnson! pic.twitter.com/VGRnjianlX
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 25, 2023
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