April 18 2012 03:08PM
Could Daniel Sedin be the Canucks' savior?
Image via Redditor BlackOutBen.
It has been a little over a month since Daniel Sedin suffered a concussion, the result of Duncan Keith's gutless, retributive elbow to his cranium. After practicing with the team on Tuesday, and skating again Wednesday afternoon without the reoccurence of symptoms, Daniel Sedin is slated to return to action in time for game four. While I'm not a doctor or an expert in concussions - the entire thing makes me queasy.
Read past the jump.
Daniel has reportedly been skating secretly with some degree of frequency over the past couple of weeks. He'd been steadily improving and before the postseason, Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis asserted confidently that Daniel would return in time for game one. After joining a full team practice on the Monday before the series opener (this series only began a week ago today) and skating hard, Daniel was downgraded and it looked likely that he wouldn't play at all in the series. Though the team publicly repudiated the notion that he'd suffered a "set back," it was rumoured that he was suffering from headaches in the days after the full-team practice he participated in.
With the team down three games to none in their series against the Kings, Daniel (like clockwork) flew down to Los Angeles, practiced with his teammates yesterday, and this afternoon was declared fit for game four. The Canucks have been admirably conservative in their handling of head-injuries all season, but now, facing the stiffest test to that commitment, the team has decided that Daniel, who has practiced three times in a month, and is admittedly in the worst shape he's been in, in five years will play tonight.
This is a textbook example of a "principal agent problem," and it's a larger issue for the league as a whole. Every season it seems, when the playoffs roll around, concussions magically seem to disappear. We saw it with Dave Bolland and Brent Seabrook last season, we've seen it with Jonathan Toews this season, and even when Henrik got tagged by Dustin Brown in game three, he spent a grand total of what, thirty seconds in the quiet room? Professional hockey players are some of the most competitive people in the world, it's hard to keep them off the ice in situations like this.
We can worry about Daniel's readiness until we're blue in the face, but I suppose we simply have to trust the team. The Canucks have earned the benefit of their doubt based on their cautious record this season, but I find it difficult to regard the timing of Daniel's recovery with anything but suspicion. Win or lose, it has been an especially rough and physical postseason so far, and I just hope that Daniel stays safe out there.