It's Throwback Night in Anaheim on Sunday for more than one reason. The Ducks are celebrating their 20th anniversary as a NHL franchise, even going so far as to bring back the classic Mighty Ducks uniform and logo for the special occasion.
But the more anticipated throwback of the night might be one of the opposing players. The Ottawa Senators are in town, which means former Ducks forward Bobby Ryan will be making his first visit to Anaheim since being traded in the offseason.
While casual Senators fans still might not know who their newest star forward is, Ducks fans got to know Bobby Ryan quite well over the last five years. Ryan spent the last four years in Anaheim putting up 30-goal seasons, yet the relationship between the player and Ducks management was always tense.
Ryan's name came up in trade rumors every season, especially after his slow start in 2011-12. It got to the point where he finally asked the team to move him last year:
"I gotta be honest with you. At this point, I don't care. Move me ... because it's just tough going to the rink every day knowing that if something goes wrong, you're going to be the guy moved."
The Ducks finally granted his request this offseason, sending him to Ottawa in exchange for forwards Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen, and a first-round pick in 2014. Now, he'll return to the Honda Center to play the Ducks on Sunday.
Ryan told the L.A. Times that he's feeling great in Ottawa without the pressure of trade rumors looming over him. He said he hasn't thought much about what reaction he'll get from the fans, but thanked Anaheim general manager Bob Murray for sending him to a place where he could succeed. He also admitted that he'll get a little nostalgic on Sunday:
"I'm not sure," Ryan told the Senators official web site when asked what to expect on Sunday. "It'll be an emotional day. I spent six years there. Lot of friends and family in the area, so it'll be an emotional day. But, hopefully, I'll be well received. Who knows?"
Between the return of Bobby Ryan and the Mighty Ducks, nostalgia is one thing the Honda Center won't be lacking on Sunday night.