Less than 24 hours after traveling to Los Angeles, the all-star 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 anout 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 soon be able to please his kids and finally play tag.
“I told them I 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 are 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.”
Daniel said his toughest post-concussion symptom was headaches, but that he hasn’t had one in a while – with the exception of Sunday night after Vancouver lost 1-0 to Los Angeles, he joked.
Truth be told, Daniel didn’t watch much of the first three games and he may not have watched any of them if his wife didn’t turn on the TV. From difference maker to fan, Daniel said watching was too nerve-wracking for him and the last thing he needed was more intense distress.
“It’s been tough knowing that you maybe could have made a difference out there,” he said, adding that he never anticipated being unable to play for this long.
“When it happened, I thought it would be a week and I’d be back, then week-and-a-half went by, two weeks, two-and-a-half-weeks…you wake up everyday expecting to feel good and it’s still there, that’s the tough part.”
Daniel Sedin’s possible return to the line-up for Game 4 doesn’t automatically help the Canucks prolong their season, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. As coach Alain Vigneault said last week, “he’s our best player, what more do you want?”
Daniel was quick to caution that even if he does return Wednesday, he likely won’t be in Art Ross form.
“I haven’t been able to workout, so my shape is probably about as low as it’s been in five years. We’ll see how it goes, hopefully I can play in the power play and be a little bit of a difference there and that’s my main focus. Then if I can chip in at 5-on-5, too, I’ll take my chances.”
He won’t, however, take any chances if for some reason he wakes up Wednesday and feels even the slightest bit off.
“I would never play if I’m not 100 per cent. If I don’t feel right tomorrow, I’m not going to play, that’s the bottom line.”
Daniel recently turned to fellow Swede and Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom, who missed 40 games this season with a concussion, for advice. It’s not known what was said between the two, but Backstrom felt 100 per cent before he returned and in seven games since coming back, he has two goals and two assists.
If Daniel plays and can help the Canucks produce offensively in Game 4, momentum and this series could very well shift back to Vancouver.