Malhotra practices with an eye for Game 2


Malhotra practices with an eye for Game 2

By Joe Haggerty

VANCOUVER The Canucks could be getting even stronger if things continue to go well for Manny Malhotra, who practiced Friday with a caged helmet while attempting to return from a nasty eye injury.Malhotra still bears the mark of a shot he took in the left eye while playing the Colorado Avalanche in the middle of March. But he was cleared for a full practice on Friday, and the door is slightly ajar for him to play in Game 2. The gritty Malhotra, who is still sportingbruising and swelling around his left eye, is listed as day-to-day by coach Alain Vigneault. Malhotra brings faceoff ability, defensive grit and a fighting spirit the Canucks could clearly use against the Bruins.
Obviously, coming back after taking a long break, there's going to be a little bit of a trial-and-error period just as far as my comfort level on the ice and my conditioning are concerned, said Malhotra. There are a lot of things that go into that decision to play in Game 2.

"Number one: I obviously don't want this to be a sideshow. We always talk about in our dressing room that the whole is much greater than the individuals. We have a very strong focus in the room. It's where it needs to be. I don't want anything to sidetrack that.

"From the other standpoint, it's playoff hockey. That's what we're used to. You don't get a whole lot of information on injuries in general. So we're just kind of following suit in that sense.Also, defenseman Dan Hamhuis was missing from practiceafter suffering an unspecified injury in Game 1 while throwing a hipcheck on Milan Lucic.Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Larry Robinson parts ways with Sharks

Morning Skate: Larry Robinson parts ways with Sharks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while refraining from shoving any world leaders today.

*Larry Robinson and the San Jose Sharks are parting after working together for five seasons, per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz.

*Speaking of Kurz, he also has a Sharks mailbag on which players are most likely to be traded out of San Jose during the offseason. Somebody has got to go, and you’d think it would be somebody without much tread left on the tires.

*Moving on to other topics, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said that losing a Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals to the Nashville Predators was the “toughest” loss of his career. I don’t see how this is possible. You see, Kesler is no slouch at falling short. In fact, he’s a tremendous loser, having dropped a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and also having lost a Gold Medal Game for Team USA at the hands of Sidney Crosby and Canada in 2010 in overtime that was also played in Vancouver. It took a simple Google search to find an actual postgame video of Kesler crying into his hockey glove on the bench in the aftermath of Game 7 vs. the Bruins. So, pardon me if I’m not buying Kesler talking about a conference finals loss as the worst of his career when he was one home win away from being a Stanley Cup champion in Game 7, and proceeded to lose like he’s done many, many times in the most important games of his career. Dude, you’ve been through tougher losses. Trust me on that one.  

*The idea of trading Alex Ovechkin might be gaining some traction with the Capitals fan base, but it doesn’t seem to be based on reality at this point.

*The pride of Melrose, Mass, Conor Sheary, delivered in Game 7 for the Penguins as they return to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back seasons.

*Bobby Ryan said his strategy for success in the playoffs, at least in part, was staying off the phone. Maybe he ought to try that a bit more during the regular season.

*Congrats to the folks at NBC for another successful Red Nose Day that featured a reunion of the “Love Actually” cast among other things.