VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks kick off the NHL playoffs Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings, but whether Daniel Sedin will be on the ice remains a mystery.
The Canucks star was a no-show at the team’s practice but skated with a few other teammates afterward. He had been scheduled to speak to reporters, a session the club even promoted on its website beforehand. But he was not made available.
“It’s a unique injury, and he will continue the protocol,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “When he’s ready to play, he’ll address you. Until that time, he won’t talk to you.”
Hopes were raised Monday when Sedin, out with a concussion since March 21, practised with the team for the first time since he was injured. While he didn’t speak to the media, his teammate and twin brother Henrik said he was ”100 per cent.” Daniel Sedin was expected to take part in his second team workout Tuesday.
Vigneault refused to say what part of the concussion-recovery protocol allows for Sedin to practise one day with the main group and then be forced to do a lighter workout with fewer players.
Vigneault also declined to say whether Sedin would play in Game 1.
“You should know by now that I don’t discuss lineup decisions,” said Vigneault.
The coach said he divided the group into two because he wanted to limit the main practice to four lines after he had to deal with five lines and nine defencemen Monday.
Sedin was sidelined after taking an elbow in the head from Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith, who was suspended for five games.
Henrik Sedin, the Canucks captain, declined to say whether his brother had suffered a setback after Monday’s practice.
Daniel Sedin led the Canucks in goals during the regular season with 30 and compiled a total of 67 points. He missed nine games, eight of which the Canucks won.
Henrik Sedin indicated the Canucks have been able to win without Daniel and will have to do so again, if necessary. Daniel’s absence still does not diminish the task of ousting the Kings.
“We’ve got to play as a team,” said Henrik Sedin. “It’s not going to change if he’s there or not. We’ve got to roll four lines.”
The Canucks, who finished first overall in the NHL for the second straight season with a 51-22-9 record are looking to return to the Stanley Cup final after losing to Boston in seven games. The Kings finished eighth in the Western Conference with a 40-27-15 mark.
Vancouver and Los Angeles split two games during the regular season. Three of the games were decided by one goal.
This is the second time the Canucks and Kings have met in the playoffs in the past three years. Vancouver eliminated L.A. in the first round of the 2009-10 post-season.
Note—Canucks defenceman Keith Ballard, also recovering from a concussion, which has sidelined him since February, took part in both workouts. … Left-winger Aaron Volpatti, who has missed most of the season with a shoulder injury, skated with the second group and is considered close to returning. … Left-winger Andrew Ebbett also skated with the second group even though he is not injured. … The Kings did not practise in Vancouver on Tuesday or make players available to media here.