ANAHEIM - For picking up points? It shouldn’t be a problem.
For picking up chicks? Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing Anaheim Ducks centre Ryan Getzlaf is already off the market.
Getzlaf was struck in the face by a slap shot as the final seconds ticked off the clock in Wednesday’s Game 1 victory over the Dallas Stars and, although Anaheim’s captain missed practice Thursday and wasn’t publicly showing off the damage, his teammates reported it ain’t pretty.
Getzlaf’s brother Chris, a receiver for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, posted a photo to Twitter on Thursday evening that proves it.
“Luckily, he’s married, he’s got a couple of kids,” said Ducks defenceman Ben Lovejoy. “He’s not out trying impress people with his face.”
Ducks fans — and probably a lot of fantasy playoff poolies, too — can exhale, because Getzlaf will be in Anaheim’s lineup for Friday’s Game 2 at Honda Center.
The official word is Getzlaf, who had a goal and an assist in Game 1, suffered a “deep facial laceration” and needed “numerous stitches” after being struck by Tyler Seguin’s slapper with just 16.3 seconds left in Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over the Stars, but his jaw isn’t broken.
Chris Getzlaf’s photo shows a long row of stitches under his mouth and across the left side of his face. There’s also substantial swelling.
“One of the toughest guys I know #warrior #ducks #playoffperformer #saskboy,” Chris Getzlaf wrote.
Asked if he could provide any details of the work required to stitch up Getzlaf’s face, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau deadpanned: “No, because I didn’t want to look at him.”
“This is playoff hockey — I think he looks very good,” Lovejoy countered.
Fans of HBO’s 24/7 will certainly remember Lovejoy’s look after he was dropped by a high shot while camera crews for the reality series were following him and his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates in December 2010.
The most memorable part was probably the reaction of Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who were settled into side-by-side seats on a post-game flight when they caught a glimpse of Lovejoy’s swollen-beyond-belief left cheek.
“Oh, Benny ... Jeez,” Crosby says, his eyes wide.
“Holy #%!@,” adds Fleury, stopping mid-sentence to see what all the fuss is about.
Getzlaf might be hearing similar comments behind closed doors, but the truth is there was an unsettled feeling among Anaheim’s other skaters after watching their leader race off the ice and head straight to the medical room after being struck by Seguin’s shot.
“It was a weird mood after winning your first playoff game,” revealed Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler. “You could just sense there was a little concern, a little tension in the room. It wasn’t the high-five, listen to music, dancing that you usually get, because we were all concerned. He’s our captain. He’s been our best player all year. He’s what really stirs the drink for us.
“To know and finally find out that he was okay and realize it wasn’t too serious was big for us. It was a scary moment when it happened.”
The scary part is the thought of facing the wild-card Stars — just as good as the Ducks in Wednesday’s Game 1, but unable to solve netminder Frederik Andersen until they were staring at a four-goal deficit — without him.
Getzlaf, who forms one-half of a dynamic duo with right winger Corey Perry, is arguably the biggest reason Anaheim finished atop the standings in the NHL’s Western Conference.
The 6-foot-4, 221-pound pivot finished second in the regular-season scoring race with 87 points — 31 goals and 56 helpers — and will likely finish as runner-up to Crosby on the Hart Trophy ballot.
The Ducks are relieved the comparison ends there.
“When Crosby went down with his broken jaw (last March), I’m sure that all the Penguins were going, ‘Oh my goodness,’ ” Boudreau said. “We got lucky on that one.”
While his teammates marvelled on Thursday at his toughness, Getzlaf apparently shrugged it off as no big deal.
“He came in today and acted fine and as if everything was normal,” said Ducks right-winger Kyle Palmieri. “That’s one of the things a captain does and a warrior does, and he’s that in every sense of the word.”
On Twitter: @SUNGilbertson
STARS LOOK AT THE POSITIVES
The Dallas Stars don’t want to dwell on the negatives.
“I think I had the longest video session of the year (on Thursday),” reported Stars head coach Lindy Ruff. “And a lot of it was a reminder of what we do well.”
The Stars, who had an optional skate on Thursday at Honda Center, should have gained some confidence in the latter half of Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the host Anaheim Ducks, when they scored three unanswered goals to turn a possible blowout into a nail-biter.
Although they couldn’t fight all the way back to tie up the score in Game 1, they’re optimistic they can fight back to tie up the series on Friday before the action shifts to Dallas.
“I’m banking on the fact we’ve been able to bounce back from a lot of tough situations,” Ruff said. “I thought it was a game they could have run away with. But it was a game that, in the end, we had them puckered up a little bit and had a chance.”