Blueline-gate is getting some good news today as Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis were both spotted taking the ice early at Rogers Arena with skills coach, Glenn Carnegie prior to the team's game day skate Saturday morning.
Hamhuis passed all post-concussion tests and is ready to play upon clearance from the medical staff but will not dress in tonight's tilt against the Stars. Head Coach Alain Vigneault wants him to participate in more practices before slotting him back into the lineup.
"I'm feeling good and making a lot of progress this week," said Hamhuis following the skating session. "I've been through the NHL concussion testing and that's gone really well, as well as some in-house testing we've been doing with different baselines and everything's gone well and I was able to participate in the game day skate."
"I think he's been skating now for a couple of days and he's gone through all the protocol, passed all the tests, feels fine," said Vigneault. "He told me he could go tonight if I needed him but we're going to give him a couple more full practices and he'll be fine in a couple of days."
Hamhuis began skating Wednesday before joining the team for practice today. He missed the last four games suffering from concussion symptoms since February 9 after a hit from Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks.
"There are certainly a lot of different opinions on the hit and I don't think it was a dirty, dirty hit but at the same time, i think it was a bit unnecessary. The puck was definitely off my stick and I was in a bit of a vulnerable position there but that's part of the game and I don't hold anything against [Ryan] Getzlaf for what he did. Unfortunately, it just ended up being a bad injury."
Ballard continues his rehabilitation program and reports are all positive so far. He's been out since February 7 with a sprained MCL, missing the last five games. There is still no timeline for his return.
"He skated this morning so he's progressing really well," said Vigneault. "He's been working off the ice for quite some time now so I think he's coming along."