Hodgson replaced by Bolduc on fourth line – Faceoff king Malhotra will sit too

Above video is Cody’s first goal!

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Ouch. Manny has made a remarkable recovery from this ugly injury. Photo courtesy of the Vancouver Province.


By Terrance Gavan

Manny Malhotra was in tears last weekend.

The Vancouver Canucks center has been given the clearance to play in the first game of the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday, June 1.

Haliburton cottager Cody Hodgson who has been averaging 5-7 minutes per game was playing alongside Malhotra during the Monday practice in prep for their series against the Boston Bruins.

Malhotra missed Tuesday’s practice and just before press time on Wednesday we received word that Malhotra, Hodgson and Tanner Glass were scratched.

Speculation was rife last weekend that Malhotra might be able to go against the Bruins on Wednesday.

However, he didn’t scrimmage Tuesday and coach Alain Vigneault decided to shake up the fourth line once again.

Alexandre Bolduc will center the fourth line between Jeff Tambellini and Victor Oreskovitch.

The move is somewhat surprising considering that Tambellini, a 26-year-old Port Moody native, played in just two of the Canucks 18 playoff games.

However, it’s almost a no brainer thatat some point we’ll see Malhotra in the lineup. When he left he was the league’s second best face off man with a 61 percent success rating.

Everyone is stunned, but elated to see Manny being Manny once again.

“Eleven weeks after he nearly lost his eye, 17 days after he started skating, and following several little white lies from the Canucks, Malhotra crackled with emotion Saturday as he unveiled the fact doctors have given him the green light to play,” writes Jason Botchford, of the Vancouver Province. “It means he should finally get a chance to put the playoff beard he’s been growing to good use.”

“I can assure you I wasn’t flipping a coin in the change room deciding whether I was going to play or not,” said Malhotra, in that same interview.

“A coin flip suggests Malhotra’s comeback is about chance,” adds Botchford. “He has seen both sides of the coin, too, from the sickening, fluke accident on March 16 to the heartening recovery, one GM Mike Gillis summed up with one word: ‘Remarkable.’ ”

Malhotra began skating with teammates on May 12. He took some time to work on face offs with rookie center and Haliburton cottager Cody Hodgson during the playoff series versus San Jose.

That fourth line is like a living organism. So we don’t know how Hodgson will fit into the plans. And if he loses his spot to mellifluous Manny??

Disappointing. But Cody Hodgson, a consummate team player will probably be cheering for Marvelous Manny’s return.

“It’s been a dream of mine to play for the Stanley Cup. But, at the same time, I’m not going to put myself out there to be treated like a little brother,” said Malhotra, who will wear a full face shield before moving to a visor next season.

Get gav at gav@countyvoice.ca and twitter.com/terrancegavan.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]