Getz must Duck out

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:15 AM ET

Ryan Getzlaf is used to wearing the superhero's cape in the Stampede City.

But the former Calgary Hitmen star was looking forward to donning the villain's cloak tomorrow night when the Flames visit his Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Unfortunately, after separating his shoulder Sunday night, the

20-year-old sniper will have to wait until Feb. 8, when the Ducks visit the 'Dome.

"I won't get to see my buddy Dion again," Getzlaf said of Flames rookie rearguard Dion Phaneuf. Getzlaf and Phaneuf dominated the WHL last season, when the latter suited up with the Red Deer Rebels. They won a world junior gold medal together.

Getzlaf picked up a pair of assists -- his most productive game to date in his young NHL career -- in Sunday's 5-3 win over Phoenix before getting injured.

"I got tangled up going to the net. I spun around and hit the boards when I was on my knees," Getzlaf said yesterday.

"I have no idea how long I'll be out. I'm thinking a week and a half or two weeks probably."

The injury couldn't have come at a worse time for the Regina product, who captained the Hitmen last season. Playing on a line with Petr Sykora and Teemu Selanne, the 6-ft. 3-in., 208-lb. pivot was starting to feel comfortable.

"Things were just starting to click so it was a tough time for it to happen," he said.

"Our lines change every day but we played pretty well (Sunday) night. So hopefully we'll get another shot when I get back in the lineup."

The 2003 first-round pick (19th overall) has been feeling his way along, notching a goal and three assists in eight games.

A strong two-way player who led last year's world junior tourney at plus-14, he's tops on the club with a plus-five.

"It's been a progression," he said.

"Things have gotten better as we've went along. That's all you can really ask for right now -- that things improve along the way and you get more ice time."

His playing time, under Anaheim's new head coach Randy Carlyle, has been all over the map.

Accustomed to being the biggest fish in a smaller -- pardon the pun -- pond, Getzlaf has had to sit patiently and make the most of his limited ice time.

He was on the ice for a season-low 4:36 Oct. 14 against Columbus but still managed to collect his first NHL point, assisting on a goal by former Medicine Hat Tiger Joffrey Lupul.

A week later, he played 15:25 and picked up his first goal in a 3-2 loss in Detroit.

It's taken some getting used to for Getzlaf, who used to play 25 to 30 minutes a game in Calgary.

"It's very tough, especially at the start," he says.

"The first few games, I was only playing here and there, about eight minutes or so.

"When you're not playing much, it's tough to turn the switch on when you get out there.

"But I've been playing more and more every night. Lately it's been around 13 or 15 minutes."

Getzlaf said he'll treasure his souvenir puck from his first NHL goal -- once he gets it.

"We haven't got our pucks yet," he says, alluding to fellow rookie Jonathan Hedstrom, who potted his first Sunday night. "The team's doing something with them. I think they're putting them in plaques for us."


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