VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A long day of deliberation, plenty of tests and, no doubt, plenty of hoping and praying went by the wayside on Thursday night.

Lewiston Maineiacs’ captain Marc-Andre Cliche, injured in the team’s first game of the round robin on Saturday, was not in the lineup for his team’s play-in game against the Plymouth Whalers, despite evidence to the contrary earlier in the day.

He didn’t dress for practice Thursday morning, one day after doing so in an off-day skate.

He was around the team’s locker room following practice, though he showed little of himself in front of the gathered media.

A short time later, when asked if he was going to play, Cliche responded, “I don’t know.”

He smiled, and winked.

Maineiacs’ head coach Clem Jodoin told gathered media that he would know an hour later whether his captain would play.

An hour later, he said the same, before being reminded it was, in fact, the same answer. He, too, smiled and winked.

“It is likely,” Jodoin said before scampering off to meet the team bus outside the Pacific Coliseum.

While no one said for sure whether Cliche would play, no one denied that he could.

“For sure I want to play,” Cliche said. “But I don’t know.”

By game time, there was no more room for vague nuances.

An unofficial lineup card had Cliche listed as a scratch.

His teammates appeared from the tunnel, one-by-one.

But no No. 10.

His ability to play was determined by his range of motion, his strength, and his tolerance for pain.

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