April 17, 2012
Sedin could spark Canucks, if he plays
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. - Forget about hockey games.
Daniel Sedin couldn't even play children's games. That's how bad the concussion he suffered March 21 affected his life.
The Vancouver Canucks star was home much more free time than usual these past few weeks, so naturally his young children wanted him to play with them.
"I told them I've got a headache, but they said, 'Your legs are fine. Let's play tag,'" he said. "It was tough for them."
Tough for his kids. Tough for him.
Tough for the Canucks, too, who are shockingly on the brink of elimination from the Stanley Cup tournament.
However, Sedin, who was injured after being elbowed in the face by Chicago's Duncan Keith, took the next step in his recovery Tuesday -- he skated with the Canucks -- and is a game-time decision for Wednesday's critical playoff clash with the Los Angeles Kings.
The regular-season champion Canucks trail 3-0 in the best-of-seven series and must pull out all the stops. Whether that includes Sedin's return, though, remains to be seen. He practised with the team just before playoffs started, but took a few days to get get over that session, so Tuesday's practice isn't proof he'll be in action.
"When I stepped on the ice to practice (April 9) like I did today, things didn't feel 100%. It's not like I took a step back," said Sedin, who hasn't spoken publicly since being injured. "I took one-and-one-half days off and I started to feel good again.
"When it happened, I thought, 'OK, it's a week and I'll be back.' Then a week-and-a-half went by and still wasn't feeling good. Two weeks, two-and-a-half weeks. You wake up every day expecting to feel good and it's still there. That's the tough part."
Watching the games wasn't any help, either.
"It's nerve-wracking," said the winger, who led the team with 30 goals this season. "To not be out there and help the team, I understand the fans now, let's put it that way.
"It's been tough knowing you can maybe make a difference. It's been tight games. We knew going into the series it was going to be tight. We know we were No. 1 in the conference and they were eight, but we knew we were going to be in for a tough series."
He wouldn't comment about the hit and says he hasn't heard from the Chicago defenceman, who was handed a five-game suspension.
Even if Sedin plays, it's tough to say his return will elevate the Canucks enough to stave off elimination. It's not easy for any player, even the league's 2010-11 scoring champ, to jump into the fray of the playoffs after four weeks off.
They've scored just four goals in three games and their power play is a dreadful 0-for-14.
Adding Sedin, who skated on a line with his twin brother Henrik and David Booth in practice, could help, but the Canucks can't rely on him to be a white knight.
"If he can play, he'll obviously be a big help for us," said coach Alain Vigneault. "But we need a couple of difference makers. I've really liked the effort from our group the last two games, I think we're playing the right way and playing real hard, but we need a couple of guys on the ice to step up and be difference makers.
"It's a simple as that."
And if the Canucks get get just one win to take the series back to Vancouver, who knows what will happen.
"We would rather be up 3-0 than down 3-0, but that's how it is," captain Henrik Sedin said. "There's not a whole lot of teams that have been able to come back, but if there's a team that I've been on that might be capable of it, it's this team. We have a great team in here and we've shown in the past two years we can string some wins together."
On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak