Last April, with the Vancouver Canucks leading the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 in their first-round playoff series, Dave Bolland returned to the lineup after missing 41 days with a concussion. The center gave his team an immediate spark, neutralizing the Sedins just in time and helping the Blackhawks to claw back into the series.
Could Daniel Sedin be gearing up for a Bolland-esque return? Maybe so, as the Canucks' left winger will be joining the team in Los Angeles for a full practice on Tuesday.
Will we see him in the lineup on Wednesday? That's still up in the air. From Canucks.com:
"Daniel is continuing to follow the protocol, he's been cleared for practice with the team, so he's flying in later on this afternoon," said coach Alain Vigneault, outside the team hotel Monday afternoon.
[...] Whether Daniel plays or not in Game 4 isn't up to Vigneault; regardless of the situation, the forward will not be rushed back before he's ready to play.
"That won't be my decision, that's a medical decision, he's been skating now for quite a few days, they feel that he's progressed real well and he's cleared to practice with the team, so exactly what that means we'll have a better indication in the next couple of days."
It goes without saying that the Canucks could use Sedin's skill.
Daniel would change the dynamic of the Canucks' forward corps completely. They have excellent secondary scoring, provided it remains secondary. The moment guys like Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond, Chris Higgins and Alex Burrows are shutdown concern No. 1, the team struggles, and against a goaltender like Jonathan Quick, they simply can't afford to.
Here are two other things the Canucks can't afford to do: play another game versus the Kings without Daniel Sedin, and damage his career long-term by rushing him back from an injury he's not fully over.
Let's hope the Canucks prioritize safety over winning (although the way these playoffs have gone thus far, that seems unlikely). If Daniel experiences a setback, as his father indicated he did after practicing with the team last week, here's hoping they shut him down.
But if he doesn't, then I'm sure Canuck fans will be hoping for something like this:
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney