Four years wiser, Ducks stars Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf insisted Wednesday that the satisfaction of the gold medal that swung around their necks three days earlier won't dull their enthusiasm for a Stanley Cup.
"Coming back from Vancouver [in 2010], I let myself do that, sat back and didn't finish the season the way I wanted to," Perry said as he, Team Canada teammate Getzlaf and tournament most valuable player Teemu Selanne of Finland rejoined the Ducks following their Sochi heroics.
"You mature, you grow as a player and person, learn how to deal with those things, and hopefully I deal with it the right way this time."
In 2010 Perry scored just two goals and was minus-three on the ice in his first 11 games after the break as the Ducks swooned to 4-6-1 at the resumption of play and finished out of the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04.
With the St. Louis Blues coming to Honda Center for a Friday night game, the vibe is far different.
Perry, with a team-best 30 goals, and Getzlaf, with a Ducks-leading 67 points, are still seared by the disappointment of last season's surprising first-round playoff exit, and the rested Ducks say they're committed to upholding their standing as NHL points leader at 87, with a 41-14-5 record.
Forward Andrew Cogliano said the Ducks' non-Olympians have been "practicing at a pretty high tempo since last week," and are confident the team's seven Olympians will return motivated for a strong push.
"Good players win multiple championships," Cogliano said of Perry and Getzlaf.
Said Perry: "Everybody knows what we want to do and where we want to go from here."
Gold "is one feather in the cap. There's still more to come."
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau won't put Perry, Getzlaf and Selanne on the Honda Center ice until Thursday, hoping to ensure they're properly recovered from their travels in Sochi.
Getzlaf said repeating gold is "something that hasn't been done in a long time, was exciting for us … a great experience for me," but his mind has turned to the Ducks' task at hand, which he called a "22-game sprint to the finish."
"That's got nothing to do with what we're trying to do here, we're trying to win a Stanley Cup," Getzlaf said. "We've had a big goal since we started the season and we're fastly approaching it now.
"We were conscious about our game plan of when we got back. Nice to get a couple days here to rest, decompress and start again Friday."
The 43-year-old Selanne might feel emboldened to ask that his ice-time average of 13 minutes 57 seconds per game — 12th on the team — be increased after recording four goals and six points in Sochi.
"Here, it's a different story," Selanne told reporters. "We've got a lot of great players on this team, and I think they've dealt the cards already. Everybody has to do their best. It doesn't matter if you're playing two minutes a night or 20 minutes.
"I know what I can do, and I'm a professional player who can accept any role. This is my last year and I know whatever way I can help, I want to do it."
Boudreau said his team is the healthiest it's been as it begins a five-game homestand, but the long break still raises concern.
"You worry about everything … if their groins are sore from today's practice, if working on the power play and penalty kill for one day is enough," Boudreau said. "There's always decisions to make, a lot of conversation for what we hope are the right answers.
"Let's get this thing going."
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