Could Daniel Sedin be the answer?
You can believe having Sedin return to the lineup, after missing almost a month with a concussion, brings a much-needed scoring touch and injects a shot of adrenaline into the team. It also can be seen as a last-ditch move made by a desperate club trying to avoid the humiliation of being swept out of the first round of the NHL playoffs.
Neither observation is wrong.
It's hard to believe having Sedin back will answer all the questions about what has gone wrong for the Canucks, who trail the Kings 3-0 in their Western Conference quarterfinal series. But if the left winger's presence helps Vancouver force a Game 5, it's a gamble the Canucks believe is worth taking.
"It certainly can't hurt," former Vancouver coach Marc Crawford, now a television analyst, said Tuesday. "Anybody can have an impact in a game.
"With him coming back in such a critical situation, it's bound to give his team a boost. He's there for his abilities offensively, his creativity, his reads and his finishing touch on the power play. I can see him having an impact in all those areas."
Sedin practiced with the Canucks on Tuesday, and he will be closely watched by the medical staff to see if any of the concussion symptoms return before a final decision is made on whether he plays Wednesday.
"It's been a tough four weeks, but it's good to be back," Sedin told the Canucks' website. "We'll take it day by day and today felt good. We'll see how it is tomorrow morning."
The Canucks have outplayed the Kings for long stretches. The series could just as easily be 2-1 in Vancouver's favor if not for a dismal power play that gave up two shorthanded goals in Game 2. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has also made some clutch saves, allowing just four goals.
The Canucks' big guns have declared a cease fire against the Kings. Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, David Booth and Mason Raymond have not scored. Alex Burrows has a goal but no assists. The power play, the stick the Canucks used to beat teams with in the past, has been an embarrassing 0-for-14.
Former Canucks captain Trevor Linden said Daniel Sedin's return might give Vancouver some more ammunition.
"He's a huge dimension to their offense," said Linden, who spent six years as a teammate of the Sedins before retiring after the 2007-08 season. "That's what their issue is right now, they just can't seem to get the offense going."
Daniel Sedin is a pure goal scorer. He can beat a goaltender with a pretty wristshot to an open corner or shovel in a rebound during a scramble. He's also deceivingly tough, able to take abuse without losing his cool.
But conditioning will be a big question. Stepping into the intensity of a playoff elimination game is like trying to merge into the fast lane of a freeway.
"I haven't been able to work out, so my shape is probably about as low as it's been in five years," Daniel Sedin said. "We'll see how it goes. Hopefully I can play on the power play and make a little bit of difference there. That's my main focus.
"Then if I can chip in five-on-five, too, I'll take my chances."
For any athlete, returning from a concussion isn't like coming back from a sprain or broken bone. Daniel Sedin practiced with the team one day last week, but "things didn't feel 100 percent."
"It's hard to gauge as a player," said Linden. "You may feel good, but you don't know how you are going to react to getting bumped or hit. It's a different animal, for sure."
Last season, Daniel Sedin won the NHL scoring title with 104 points; his 41 goals and 63 assists were both career highs. He also received the Ted Lindsay Award as the players' choice for MVP.
This season, Daniel Sedin led the Canucks with 30 goals despite missing the final nine games of the regular season with a concussion suffered after being elbowed in the head by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith.
Daniel Sedin flew to Los Angeles on Monday. During Tuesday's practice, the 31-year-old skated on a line with twin brother Henrik and Booth. The second line had Kesler centering between Raymond and Burrows.
The biggest beneficiary of Daniel's return could be his brother. Henrik Sedin has always been the setup man, able to feed Daniel seeing-eye passes. At times in this series, Henrik has looked lost, unable to find an open man.
"When you watch Henrik, he's playing his heart out," said Linden. "He's facing other team's top opposition. He needs someone like Daniel to come in [and] be able to work that give-and-go like nobody else can."
If this was a Hollywood script, Daniel Sedin would play Game 4, score the winning goal and help Vancouver become just the fourth team in NHL history to win a series after trailing 3-0.
The Canucks will know soon if their story has a chance for a happy ending.
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