The Vancouver Canucks will find out Wednesday if Daniel Sedin’s head has caught up to his legs.
Less than 24 hours after traveling to Los Angeles, the all-star Canucks forward was on the ice with the Canucks Tuesday afternoon at the Toyota Sports Center and he came away feeling great.
This was Daniel’s second full practice with the team since suffering a concussion on March 21st and when questioned on what has changed since his last practice seven days ago, Daniel said it’s difficult to explain, but quite a bit.
He’s now on the verge of returning when Vancouver needs him most down 3-0 to the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Quarter-Final, but more importantly, he’ll be able to please his kids and finally play tag.
“I told them they had a little bit of a headache, and they said ‘well your legs are fine, so let’s play tag,’” laughed Daniel.
The time spent away from the Canucks was difficult for Daniel, especially because he was next to useless around the house. It was rest, relaxation, repeat. and although he thought it would never end, the clouds have almost fully cleared.
“It’s been a tough four weeks, but it’s good to be back and first of all feeling good, that’s been my main issue,” said Daniel. “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 and that’s the case now.
“We’ll take it day-by-day and today felt good, we’ll see how it is tomorrow morning.”
Booth + Sedins?
Daniel Sedin led the Canucks in stretching and received a hardy stick tap from teammates, who are thrilled to at least have him back practicing.
They’ll be even more thrilled if he plays in Game 4 Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
“He looked good out there, we’ll see how he is tomorrow, but he looked good,” said Henrik Sedin. “It’s a good feeling to have him back for sure, whenever you get your best player back in practice, it’s always good for the guys.”
The Canucks practiced with a few new line combinations Tuesday, which included Daniel and Henrik Sedin skating with David Booth on the top trio. Coach Vigneault said he was merely trying something new and not to read too much into it, but the prospect interested all three parties involved.
“He’s big and strong on the puck and can take the puck to the net, so it felt good in practice, we’re trying something new and he’s a good player, he’s shown he can be really effective,” said Henrik.
Booth said there aren’t too better forwards in the NHL, so skating alongside the Sedins would be great.
He’s tailoring his game plan to suit the Sedins for Game 4, just in case.
“I’ve just got to keep playing the body,” said Booth. “Pucks haven’t been going in lately, they’ve been tough to score, [the Kings] have been playing tough defensively, so I’ve got to use my speed and play the body and hopefully create some space for them.”
Coach Vigneault has made up his mind as to whom Vancouver’s starting goaltender will be for Game 4, he simply isn’t ready to reveal if it’s Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider because he hasn’t informed them yet.
Goaltending has not been an issue for the Canucks this series, with Vancouver beating itself in Games 1 & 2 with Luongo between the pipes, and Schneider allowing just one goal in Game 3.
Both their body of work in this series and how the goaltenders have played this season overall played a part in Vigneault’s decision.
”We’re going to play the goaltender that I feel gives us the best chance to win,” said Vigneault.
Naturally both Luongo and Schneider want to get the call in Vancouver’s biggest game of the season.
”We all want to play, that goes without saying, but right now as a team we’ve all got to get ready and make sure that we play our best game of the season tomorrow and take it from there,” said Luongo.
It’ll be Jonathan Quick at the other end of the ice in Game 4, he’s not only a player who has stifled the Canucks this series, he’s also gone toe-to-toe with Schneider on many occasions, in four different leagues.
”We’re from the same area and played against each other in high school and college and it’s been great to see him rise to the level he has,” said Schneider, of Quick. “I remember in college he stood on his head a few times against us and you could see that there was something special there. The way that he has adapted to the game and learned from it so quickly to be as good as he is, that’s pretty remarkable. We’ve got to the find a way to solve him and get back in this series.”