EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Daniel Sedin returned to practice with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, skating alongside his brother for the first time since getting a concussion last month.
Sedin probably won’t decide until game time Wednesday whether he’ll suit up when the Canucks attempt to salvage their season.
Finally symptom-free after 2 1/2 weeks of pounding headaches, Sedin is pondering whether to play in the crucial Game 4 of Vancouver’s playoff series with the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night. Sedin realizes the top-seeded Canucks are facing elimination after losing the first three, but he’s simply grateful he’s close to a comeback.
“It’s been a tough four weeks, but it’s good to be back and feeling good,” Sedin said. “That’s been my main issue. I really wanted to be back for the playoffs, but when that wasn’t the case my main concern was getting back to 100 per cent. That’s the case now.”
The Canucks’ top goal-scorer and last season’s Hart Trophy finalist skated with his teammates at the Kings’ training complex for the first time since getting hurt 12 games ago on a hit from Chicago’s Duncan Keith. Sedin was on a line with his brother, Henrik, and David Booth, and he also logged time with the Canucks’ struggling power play unit.
Sedin said he has felt fairly normal for “quite a while,” but he’s still following the NHL’s concussion protocol. He acknowledges his conditioning has suffered during a month of inactivity, saying he feels more out of shape than he has in perhaps five years.
“I had days where it didn’t feel very good, so I just took a step back and relaxed for a few days,” Sedin said. “It’s been on and off, but it’s been a long time since I had those bad headaches.”
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said the team’s medical staff will determine whether Sedin should play. He’s not about to rush Sedin, even with the Canucks facing elimination.
Presidents’ Trophy-winning Vancouver has scored just four goals in its three losses to the eighth-seeded Kings. The power play is 0 for 14 without Sedin, who had 10 goals and 15 assists with the man advantage this season.
Sedin probably would focus on the power play if he suits up for Game 4, and he took his turn in front of the net during practice, redirecting shots.
Sedin has spoken to Booth, Keith Ballard and a few other teammates about their own recoveries from concussions, saying the Canucks have “quite a few” players with similar histories.
While Sedin sat out with his first major injury since missing 18 games with a broken foot early in the 2009-10 season, he wasn’t studying his teammates’ struggles, particularly in the playoffs.
“I’ve been too nervous to watch, but from what I’ve heard, it’s been tight,” Sedin said. “It’s too nerve-wracking. My wife wanted to watch (the first two games), but I told her to turn it off. … Jonathan Quick has obviously been real good. I watched Game 3, and I thought we played real good. If we play like that again (in Game 4), I like our chances.”