EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - The Vancouver Canucks practice was near its conclusion, when after a 3-on-3 puck battle drill Daniel Sedin bent over and rested his stick across his knees.
He appeared exhausted and confirmed as much a few minutes later in his first session with reporters since he suffered a concussion on Mar. 21, when he was elbowed in the head by Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith.
"I haven't been able to work out and my shape is probably about as slow as it's been in five years," Daniel Sedin said after Canucks practice on Tuesday. "We'll see. Hopefully I can play on the power play and be a bit of a difference there and maybe chip in five-on-five, too.
"I really wanted to be back for the playoffs, but my main concern was getting back to 100 per cent. We'll take it day-by-day. It's probably been the toughest time mentally that I've been through and I'm just happy to be back."
A decision on Sedin's availability won't be made until game time at the Staples Center on Wednesday. The Presidents Trophy-winning Canucks find themselves down 3-0 and could become the first No. 1-seeded team to be swept in the first round since the NHL began employing this current playoff format in 1992-93.
The Canucks offence has stalled without their leading sniper. They have checked in with just four goals in three games. In fact, the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs have begun the way the post-season finished for the Canucks 10 months ago, when they managed only eight goals in the seven-game final against the Boston Bruins.
"We'll make the best decision for everyone," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
"Daniel was an MVP last year. He was a real solid player for us this year until he got hurt. So obviously he can help.
"Right now, we obviously need a couple difference makers. We need a couple guys to step up and make a difference."
Daniel skates with Henrik, Booth
Daniel Sedin skated on a line in practice with his brother Henrik and right wing David Booth. The twins usual linemate, Alex Burrows, was shifted back to Booth's spot on the Canucks second line alongside Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins.
This was the second time in nine days Daniel joined the Canucks' main group for practice. He admitted that after his first go-around last Monday, he didn't feel right and that's why he took a couple days off.
"If I don't feel right tomorrow, I won't play," Daniel said. "I don't want to go through this again."
Daniel Sedin, who has never heard from Keith since the incident, stated that he didn't feel right for about four weeks. But, he added, he hasn't suffered from headaches for a week-and-a-half.
"I was home a lot with the wife and kids," he said. "The kids wanted to play tag, but I couldn't do that. My head wasn't feeling right."
Besides whether Daniel Sedin will suit up for the struggling Canucks, the other decision facing Vigneault will be who to start in goal, Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider.
Vigneault said following practice that he's made a decision, but wouldn't inform his two goalies until later Tuesday evening.
But goaltending has not been the problem for the Canucks. The challenge has been the offence. And it's no sure thing whether Daniel Sedin can bail out his teammates, even if he returns to action on Wednesday.
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