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Canucks' Schneider back at practice

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider returned to practice Monday.

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However his status for the first game of the Stanley Cup quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks remained uncertain. Game 1 of the series is Wednesday night.

Schneider was injured April 22 in a win over Chicago, when he played the whole game without any apparent discomfort. He had not practiced with the team since then and missed Vancouver's final two regular-season games, but worked out briefly with an assistant coach Sunday.

Coach Alain Vigneault said Schneider's status remains day to day.

``It wasn't really a rest issue,'' Schneider said. ``It was a day-to-day injury, and I had to take some time off.''

Schneider said he knows when he was injured against the Blackhawks, but declined to elaborate. He has been making progress in his recovery and hopes to play against the Sharks at some point.

``I'd love to play in the playoffs,'' Schneider said. ``I've felt good about how I've been playing lately.''

Schneider earned victories in his last two regular-season games to finish with a 17-9-4 record. He had an impressive 2.11 goals-against average and five shutouts.

He was going to be Vancouver's playoff starter months ago after displacing Roberto Luongo in last spring's first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

Meanwhile, Luongo, who has tried to say and do all the right things all season long since an expected offseason trade did not come through, apologized for ducking reporters after a 7-2 loss in Edmonton on Saturday.

``I was pretty upset and I have to apologize for taking off on you guys,'' Luongo said. ``I was upset with myself. It's tough to get embarrassed like that. It's happened one too many times for me.''

Luongo said he needed time to cool off after allowing six third-period goals - including five in a span of 3 minutes and 35 seconds.

``I was fuming,'' Luongo said. ``It was better for me to sit on the bus than to say some things that I would have regretted.''

Luongo would get the start on Wednesday if Schneider is not ready to return.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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