Will Carter be able to play?

Welcome to playoff-lockdown mode. Up in Vancouver, they’re keeping relatively tight-lipped about whether Daniel Sedin will play in Game 1 (he probably will) and in El Segundo, they’re keeping relatively tight-lipped about whether Jeff Carter will play in Game 1 (he probably will). Carter missed the final five games of the regular season because of his ankle injury, but returned to full-team practice today for the first time. It would be a stretch to say that Carter was practicing at his full speed, but afterward, he had some encouraging things to say about his status. Darryl Sutter? Not so much.

Question: Does it look like you’ll be ready to go for Game 1?

CARTER: “Yeah, I think I’m getting better every day. A couple good skates here lately. Things are looking up. I should be good to go.’’

Question: Is it just a matter of managing the pain? What is it that you have to get over?

CARTER: “I have to get a little strength back in it. Then the pain is probably the major thing. But just getting the movement back, getting some range of motion, and stuff like that, helps too.’’

And here’s what Sutter said, when asked how Carter looked on the ice today…

SUTTER: “He’s still got a ways to go.’’

Question: Are you thinking he will be able to play on Wednesday?

SUTTER: “I think we’ve just got to evaluate it a day at a time. Being that far away, we’ll just see how it goes tomorrow.’’

Question: You have Brown, Kopitar and Williams back together out there…

SUTTER: “Well, Brad (Richardson) can move everywhere. Carter has only played with Richards, so they have to be able to practice a couple days together, because if Carter is ready, then Willy [Justin Williams] has to be ready too. So, if we do something different again in practice tomorrow, it’s not going to impact what we do on Wednesday. Jeff Carter, if this was the regular season, would be on I.R., right? So, until he’s activated, it’s not a point of discussion. It’s not a point of who plays with who. I’m sure they’re being asked the very same questions today (about Daniel Sedin), right?’’

As for the questions about Simon Gagne, there’s no change. If he’s not practicing, he’s not playing, and he hasn’t practiced since the morning of Dec. 26. He’s not even doing as much conditioning skating as he was three or four weeks ago. If that status changes, I’ll certainly update it, but if you’re counting on seeing Gagne any time soon, you probably shouldn’t.

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