Daniel Sedin: How Will Canucks Star's Concussion Affect Playoff Race in West?

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IMarch 22, 2012

Vancouver Canucks star winger Daniel Sedin is reportedly out for two weeks with a concussion as a result of a vicious elbow from Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith on Wednesday night.

While it's very likely that Keith will be suspended for multiple games because of the elbow, the injury to Sedin could have a huge impact on the Western Conference playoff race and the postseason itself.

 

How the Incident Affects the Playoff Race

While Vancouver likely isn't going to catch the St. Louis Blues for the West's best record or lose their No. 2 seed in the standings, it's possible that the suspension of Keith could affect who the Canucks play in the first round.

Without Keith, the Blackhawks' defense could struggle, and as a result, they could slide from their current spot in sixth down to seventh.

With the Nashville Predators getting Alexander Radulov back and the Detroit Red Wings having an easy next three games, it's very possible that the Blackhawks could slip to seventh to finish the season.

Who would the Blackhawks play in the first round as the seventh seed? That would be the Vancouver Canucks.

Another Blackhawks and Canucks playoff series might be one of the most intense seven-game affairs in the history of the NHL after this week's incident, in addition to last year's playoff battle. 

Even if the Blackhawks don't slide to seventh if Keith is suspended, they likely won't move up from their current sixth-place position in the standings.

 

How Would Sedin's Absence Affect the Playoffs?

The Canucks cannot win the Stanley Cup, or even get to the Final without a healthy Daniel Sedin. He has 67 points, which ranks second on the team, and his 30 goals leads the club. The star forward is the team's best scorer and creates plays for teammates with his exceptional passing skills.

Without a ton of reliable playoff scorers on their third and fourth lines, the Canucks cannot afford to have one of the Sedin twins or Ryan Kesler miss significant time in the playoffs.

If the Canucks make it past the first round, they would likely play the Nashville Predators or the Detroit Red Wings in the second round.

Both of those teams have strong goaltending and talented defensemen, so without Sedin, Vancouver would have a difficult time advancing to the Western Conference Finals for a second straight season.

If Sedin misses any time in the postseason, one of the NHL's best teams would instantly become far less dangerous to play. 

 

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