Vancouver Canucks forward and star player Daniel Sedin is out for an unknown amount of time due to a concussion suffered 12 days ago at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks' Duncan Keith on this controversial hit.
The Canucks are taking all precautions necessary to ensure that Daniel is able to play come Game 1 of the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Canucks do not allow injured players to talk to the media and have also asked Daniel's twin brother and best friend, Henrik Sedin, to no longer take any questions regarding Daniel's status.
That being said, Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun wrote on March 30, 2012 that Canucks GM Mike Gillis said:
“He's feeling a little better each day. We're hopeful if things keep going the way they are that he'll be available [for the first round].”
This should help Vancouver Canucks fans relax a bit, as the goal for the Canucks this season was to head into the playoffs as healthy as they could possibly be, and at this rate it appears as though they might just do so.
In the meantime, however, the injury to the Canucks' leading goal scorer does not seem to be fazing the team all that much.
With the newly named "HAM" line of Henrik Sedin, Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre racking up seven points in a 5-2 victory over the desperate Dallas Stars on Friday night, and the chemistry throughout the rest of the Canucks lineup, there should not be so much worry.
Even the defensemen are helping to chip in when they can: Sami Salo has a marker, Marc-Andre Gragnani scored on Saturday and even Andrew Alberts has been contributing to the offense.
Will Daniel Sedin Return to the Canucks lineup prior to the playoffs?
In the six games the Canucks have been without Daniel Sedin they have gone 6-0. Every win has come against a desperate team trying to get into the last couple playoff spots, and even while the Canucks currently hold the top spot in the West, they are still playing hard and winning games.
One of the biggest ways Daniel Sedin's injury would affect the Canucks playoff chances is if he is out long-term, which GM Mike Gillis clearly does not think will be the case.
If under any circumstances Daniel's condition worsens, the Canucks have enough depth to carry them through the playoffs. They may not be Cup contenders without Daniel, but their playoff chances should not be diminished just because he is out.
Daniel's injury proves it is gut check time for his brother Henrik, Ryan Kesler, Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond and others expected to help aid the offense.
One of the biggest keys during Daniel Sedin's time out of the lineup is the play of brother Henrik. Henrik has proven in the past that he can perform without Daniel—in 2009-10 he won both the Art Ross Memorial Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer and the Hart Trophy as league MVP—and has shown once again that he can play without his brother by his side.
So, does Daniel Sedin's injury have that much of an influence on the Canucks' playoff performance this season? In the short term, no it does not, but if this concussion keeps him out of the playoffs in their entirety, then yes of course it does.
With that being said, the Canucks are a strong enough team without Daniel to make big things happen, and don't rule them out should Daniel not be able to lace up the skates.
John Bain is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist
Follow him on Twitter: @JohnBainSports