The return of Kyle Calder.

Kyle Calder had plenty to complain about.

At 5 a.m. Sunday, the telephone rang in an Anchorage, Alaska hotel room, informing Calder to grab the next flight to Pittsburgh to join the Ducks for Monday night’s game against the Penguins. Roughly an hour later, Calder was on his way to the airport. At midnight, he landed in Pittsburgh.

He arrived to a less-than-ideal NHL situation: The Ducks had lost three straight and made it four with a 5-2 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champs.

But Calder isn’t complaining.

“That’s the way the league is,” he said. “You have to be professional about it and go to work.”

Though far from perfect, it was an opportunity the 30-year-old had been waiting for since he was released from training camp. Though Calder had “a couple” opportunities to play elsewhere this season, “I felt like Anaheim was where I wanted to play. It was a goal of mine to play here. I stayed working hard, and when the opportunity came I jumped on it.”

That opportunity included playing the first five games of his ECHL career with the Bakersfield Condors (since the Ducks don’t have an AHL affiliate), who were playing the Alaska Aces at the time of his fortuitous phone call.

In Pittsburgh, Calder logged 17 shifts spanning 11:37, even playing on a line with the Ducks’ top pairing of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and joining Teemu Selanne and Joffrey Lupul on the second power-play unit.

“I thought he was OK,” head coach Randy Carlyle said of Calder. “It’s never easy for a player to travel from Anchorage, Alaska to get to Pittsburgh. He’s a veteran guy. Our expectations are for him to come in and be solid, and I thought he was OK.”

Calder’s assessment was even more blunt: “I thought it went all right, but it’s a loss and that’s the bottom line. It’s a team effort, and we didn’t come away with the two points we wanted.”

This entry was posted in Anaheim Ducks/NHL and tagged , , by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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