Ducks' goalie Jonas Hiller participates in Friday's morning skate
It wasn't easy to watch the opening minutes of the Ducks game in Nashville on Thursday night. Starting in goal was Jonas Hiller, whose symptoms of vertigo had kept him out of 15 consecutive games. And it seemed right from the start he kept losing sight of the puck as the Predators swarmed him.
The two videos above show the first two goals he gave up. It didn't get better. Nineteen seconds later he gave up another easy goal and was pulled.
As Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle told Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register: "I didn't think he saw the puck. I understand his first game back, it's not easy to pull him. In my mind, you don't do that against him. You do it for the rest of the team. That's what I always say."
Perhaps Hiller first should have played in some games for the Syracuse Crunch, the Ducks' American Hockey League affiliate, to get back his timing and test his on-ice vision.
On Friday, all three goalies -- Hiller, Dan Ellis and Ray Emery -- participated in the morning skate in Chicago, Ducks spokesman Alex Gilchrist said. The Ducks play the Blackhawks on Saturday in another Western Conference showdown.
But three goals in 11-1/2 minutes is not the Hiller we saw before the vertigo (dizziness, lighteheadedness, fatigue) surfaced. Hiller had a couple of pucks hit his helmet during the All-Star game on Jan. 30 and by Feb. 2 he had symptoms of vertigo, though no direct connection was ever confirmed.
Below is an example of Hiller's spectacular play this season -- this one against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 20. PS: check out Helene Elliott talking hockey on The Times' live chat this afternoon.