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