Fowler's game just Ducky

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:36 PM ET

ANAHEIM — Randy Carlyle prefers to not use superlatives to praise the play of rookie Cam Fowler.

Even without words, it’s obvious the Anaheim Ducks head coach knows the club has a gem of a blueliner.

All season, Carlyle has shown his faith in Fowler, the former Windsor Spitfires standout who the Ducks nabbed 12th overall in this year’s draft.

All you need to do is look at the ice time for this year’s crop of freshmen. Fowler went into Friday night’s clash with the Calgary Flames averaging 22 minutes of 14 seconds per game.

Carlyle, the 1980-81 Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s top defenceman, knows a thing or two about patrolling the bluelines and said Fowler, who celebrated his 19th birthday last weekend, has already earned the coach’s trust.

“That’s a huge, huge issue for any young player,” Carlyle said.

“When you do that, your minutes will be up there and you’ll be put in situations coaches feel you can handle.

“Cam Fowler has been doing that since the first day of training camp.”

Naturally, that begs the question whether Fowler reminds Carlyle of anybody.

Say himself?

“No. He’s a much better skater,” he replied, before opting to say how much he relishes coaching such a young talent.

“You appreciate the little things the kid can do already. When watch him, you marvel at his ability to skate the puck out of dangerous situations.

“You marvel at his ability to not get overwhelmed or panic when things are kind of erratic around him. You marvel at his calmness to the game.

“He’s having fun, and that’s what’s exciting about it.”

Then again, comparisons for Fowler have actually already gone beyond his head coach.

The pie-in-the-sky comparable for the freshman who went into the Flames game with 14 points has been retired Ducks blueliner Scott Niedermayer.

“That’s humbling, but I think that falls into the category of not reading your own headlines,” Fowler said.

“People get excited about me and that’s great, and it’s good to have a little buzz around the league, but it’s really nothing when you’re 25-30 games into the season.

“Consistency is the main thing and you’ve got to make sure you continue that.”

Funny about those who say the 6-foot-1, 190-lb. defenceman reminds them of Niedermayer, whose resume isn’t missing anything.

Niedermayer has opened his home to Fowler, who’s joined in the busy household which includes four boys.

“It’s been awesome and a huge help,” Fowler said.

“I just knew him as one of the best players to ever play, but now he’s the dad I see walking around.

“They kind of run a tight ship and it’s really organized. They always know what’s going on, so it’s easy for me. He told me with four kids, having me living there wasn’t going to make much of a difference.

“I’m just making sure I’m respectful, cleaning up my room, helping with dishes.”

But what about babysitting?

“I haven’t had to do that yet. I’m sure it’s coming down the road,” Fowler said.

“I love the kids, though.

“I can hang out with them and I’ll do it for free.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


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