VANCOUVER - Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider returned to practice Monday, but his status for the first game of the Stanley Cup quarter-finals against the San Jose Sharks remained uncertain.
Schneider was injured April 22 in a win over Chicago, when he played the whole game without any apparent discomfort. He had not practised with the team since then and missed Vancouver's final two regular-season games, but worked out briefly with an assistant coach Sunday.
Coach Alain Vigneault reiterated that Schneider's status remains day to day.
Many hockey observers had speculated that the 27-year-old netminder from Marblehead, Mass., was not injured. But Schneider said his undisclosed ailment prevented him from playing.
"It wasn't really a rest issue," said Schneider. "It was a day-to-day injury, and I had to take some time off."
Schneider said he knows when he was injured against the Blackhawks, but declined to elaborate. He has been making progress in his recovery and hopes to play against the Sharks at some point.
"I'd love to play in the playoffs," said Schneider. "I've felt good about how I've been playing lately."
Schneider earned victories in his last two regular-season games to finish with a 17-9-4 record. He had an impressive 2.11 goals-against average and five shutouts.
He was ticketed as Vancouver's playoff starter months ago after displacing Roberto Luongo in last spring's first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
Meanwhile, Luongo, who has tried to say and do all the right things all season long since an expected off-season trade did not come through, apologized for ducking reporters after a 7-2 loss in Edmonton on Saturday.
"I was pretty upset and I have to apologize for taking off on you guys," said Luongo. "I was upset with myself. It???s tough to get embarrassed like that. It???s happened one too many times for me."
Luongo said he needed time to cool off after allowing six third-period goals ??? including five in a span of three minutes and 35 seconds.
"I was fuming," said Luongo. "It was better for me to sit on the bus than to say some things that I would have regretted."
Luongo would get the start on Wednesday if Schneider is not ready to return.