Posted on: June 5, 2011 12:46 am
Edited on: June 5, 2011 1:10 am
After two and half months away, Manny Malhotra admitted he was on “sensory overload” as the Vancouver Canucks center made his return from a gruesome eye injury.
“I guess I really didn't settle down till after my first shift,” Malhotra said after his team won, 3-2, in overtime on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead over the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. “It was obviously a great feeling, the ovation I got for my first shift. Once I got out there, felt a little bit better [and] started to skate.”
Malhotra, who took a puck off the eye in a game against the Colorado Avalanche on March 16, underwent two operations to restore the vision in his left eye. The Canucks ruled him out for the season days later, but he began skating with the team last month and was eventually deemed healthy enough to return to game action.
“As far as just being able to be back in the lineup, call it what you want,” Malhotra said. “For me it was just that desire to want to be back. It's always tough to watch your teammates doing what you want to do, what you love to do. But with the encouragement I had from the guys from Day 1 made me want to push myself to be a part of it again.”
Malhotra centered the fourth line in Game 2 and played 7:26 – including 1:31 on the penalty kill. Malhotra, one of the game’s best defensive forwards, didn’t lose his touch on faceoffs as he won 86 percent of his attempts.
“It's no surprise to us that he wins faceoffs,” Canucks forward Daniel Sedin said. “He's unbelievable at that. He's kept himself in shape. He's a hard-working guy. I think we expected him to play good tonight and he did.”
-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: June 3, 2011 3:05 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 5:55 pm
Center Manny Malhotra skated with the Vancouver Canucks' fourth line during practice on Friday, although Coach Alain Vigneault wouldn’t say whether that meant he might return for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“Manny's day to day,” Vigneault said.
Malhotra hasn’t played since he suffered a serious injury to his left eye in a game against the St. Louis Blues on March 16. Malhotra underwent two operations to help restore vision in the injured eye and returned to practice a couple weeks ago with a full face shield.
"i wish I could put it into a percentage for you," Malhotra said. "Again, it's going to be day-to-day. I'll see how I feel after our morning skate and we'll make a decision at that point. "
Malhotra missed the Canucks’ prior two practices, although he didn not go into much detail on why that was the case.
"From one day to the next, things have changed," he said. "I didn't feel proper to go on the ice. So I took a couple days off."
While Malhotra was on the ice, defenseman Dan Hamhuis was not. Hamhuis appeared to suffer some sort of leg injury on a low hip check he delivered to Boston’s Milan Lucic in Game 1 on Wednesday.
Like Malhotra, Vigneault gave his common refrain to describe Hamhuis’s status: “day to day.”
If Hamhuis is out, it’s likely Keith Ballard will be inserted into the lineup. He played the final two games of the West finals after Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome went down with injuries.
-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: June 2, 2011 2:50 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 9:06 pm
Vancouver Canuck forward Alex Burrows will not be suspended for allegedly biting the finger of Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the league announced in a statement on Thursday.
"After reviewing the incident, including speaking with the on-ice officials, I can find no conclusive evidence that Alex Burrows intentionally bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron," Mike Murphy, the league's senior VP of hockey operations, said in a statement.
Replays appeared to show Burrows chomping down on the right index finger of Bergeron in a scrum as the first period came to a close on Wednesday. Bergeron skated over to officials moments after the incident and showed them his finger as evidence.
"You know what, I'm over it," Bergeron told reporters on Thursday. "To be honest with you, I'm looking forward for next game. We have to get back in the series. Like I said last night, it's the League's decision. I'll let them make the call. I have nothing else to say about it."
Burrows refused to discuss the matter after the game.
The league has suspended players twice over the last decade for biting another player. Early last season, the league also looked into whether Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell bit Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang. But, like in this case, the league could find no conclusive proof that a bite actually occurred.
- A.J. Perez
Posted on: June 1, 2011 2:06 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 12:36 am
Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra missed his second consecutive practice and appears doubtful for tonight’s Stanley Cup Final opener.
“Manny is the same as he was yesterday,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “He's day to day.”
While Vigneault refused to discuss the lineup with reporters at Rogers Arena before Game 1, Canucks GM Mike Gillis told The Globe and Mail Malhotra hadn’t been cleared by doctors for game action. That characterization of Malhotra’s injury contradicts what Vigneault said previously.
“I think Alain meant that he was cleared for full practice and contact,” Gillis told the newspaper. “It usually means the same thing [as cleared to play games], but this injury is different.”
Malhotra was thought to be done for the season after a puck deflected off his left eye in March. He underwent two surgeries and Gillis said his vision surpasses the league-mandated 20/400 requirement to return.
Malhotra, one of the top defensive centers in the league, returned to practice two weeks ago with a full face shield. While he will apparently be on the sidelines for Game 1, the Canucks sound like they expect him to play at some point in the final.
“He's a guy that can help us no matter how many minutes he plays,” Canucks forward Henrik Sedin said. “He's been so key to our faceoffs and PKs. We'll see what happens. Again, he's day to day, as he's been the last week or so, so we'll see what happens.”
-- A.J. Perez