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Manny Malhotra Named As A 2012 Masterton Trophy Nominee

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@VanCanucks: Media Release: Manny Malhotra named as a 2012 Masterton Trophy nominee. #Canucks

@VanCanucks: The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, dedication to hockey.

Congrats Manny!

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Manny Malhotra was moved by the moment because he'd rather share credit than accept it.

Always accentuating the positive and putting the team before himself while struggling to overcome four surgeries in the past year on his injured left eye, the Vancouver Canucks forward rented a suite Monday at Rogers Arena to acknowledge his team of doctors. He then provided the only offence in a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings to cap a memorable day. Then came more good news Tuesday.

Malhotra was nominated by the Vancouver chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association as the Canucks nominee for the Masterton Trophy which is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

"It's obviously very special — especially with what the Masterton stands for," said Malhotra. "You look back at the guys who have won in the past and what they've overcome and triumphed over in very serious situations. To be thought of in that regard, is very humbling to me. Whether I win or not is irrelevant. Being held in that regard is pretty special to me."

It's been a special challenge for Malhotra to recover from a March 16, 2011 incident when a deflected puck struck him during a game against the Colorado Avalanche. He had surgery the next day to reduce swelling and the pooling of blood and underwent another procedure eight days later. Malhotra appeared in six playoff games as a fourth-line centre, but two additional offseason procedures on the eye left everyone wondering just how effective he could be. Slowed by a lack of offseason training and struggling to deal with his condition, Malhotra's minutes dwindled from 12 to 14 minutes to just 10 on Monday. And while he's maintained dominance in the faceoff circle with a 58.2 per cent efficiency — sixth in the NHL — keeping his drive has been tough because he's had to adapt a game that's not as well-rounded as it once was. A strong support group from within the room has helped, but nobody has helped more than his wife, Joann.

"She has been an absolute rock through the whole thing and keeping me focused and positive," said Malhotra. "There are days when I'm just not feeling myself and just not as positive as I normally am and she's right there to either give me a little TLC or a kick in the pants, depending on what the situation calls for. She's been phenomenal through this whole thing."

Malhotra has been reluctant to reveal the extent of damage to his eye in terms of vision loss, but did confirm that he doesn't require any further procedures. It's a level of comfort but the challenge is to return to a level of proficiency where he's more than just a good penalty killer and excellent faceoff specialist.

"I'm healed," he said. "It nice in the sense that things are now in my control and as hard as I want to work and as well as my body can adapt. It's a matter of getting back to where I was and feeling as confident with the puck."

Malhotra was switched from centre to left wing — supposedly to make his game easier to manage because the defensive demands of playing the middle — but aside from support from coach Alain Vigneault, there's another side to all this. Seven goals and 18 points in 73 games aren't keeping him in the lineup. Defence is. Is that enough?

"Manny as a person, is one of the best individuals I've ever met in my life as far as dealing with and getting it," said Vigneault. "But as a coach, there's the individual and the player. The player is not doing for the team what he did last year. He's still contributing but in a different way. My job is to put the best team on the ice and he's doing lot of good things right now and hopefully he can continue to do them."

With one year left on his contract at $2.5 million US, the 31-year-old Malhotra knows he needs to be more than just a strong voice in the room. But his presence and persistency have impressed those who matter most.

"You'll never hear Manny say this is tough and my eye in not 100 per cent and none of us know — he's never said a word to any of us," said defenceman Keith Ballard. "He accepts his role and thrives in it. He could have very easily said I'm done and I've got a long life ahead of me. But to see how he pushes through. He's been getting a lot better."

And that's why the suite rental was more than just a passing thought. It was to acknowledge that Malhotra is in a pretty good place.

"It was very important," said Malhotra. "No words or gestures could ever repay them for what they've done for me and getting me back to playing hockey and having a normal life."

Congrats Manny, well deserved!

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Not surprised, but very happy for him! He's a very underrated player and leader on this team.

Do you happen to know who else is nominated?

Edit: Does every team nominate someone?

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Guest The Brown Burrows

Who else could have we picked?

Mason Raymond and Sami Salo's injuries don't even compare to his.

I don't know if he'll win the award though given his season so far.

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Who else could have we picked?

Mason Raymond and Sami Salo's injuries don't even compare to his.

I don't know if he'll win the award though given his season so far.

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Who else could have we picked?

Mason Raymond and Sami Salo's injuries don't even compare to his.

I don't know if he'll win the award though given his season so far.

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Who else could have we picked?

Mason Raymond and Sami Salo's injuries don't even compare to his.

I don't know if he'll win the award though given his season so far.

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Other nominees:

Anaheim: Jonas Hiller

Boston: Johnny Boychuk

Buffalo: Jason Pominville

Calgary: Miikka Kiprusoff

Carolina: Jay Harrison

Chicago: TBA

Colorado: Peter Mueller

Columbus: Curtis Sanford

Dallas: Kari Lehtonen

Detroit: Tomas Holmstrom

Edmonton: Corey Potter

Florida: Tomas Fleischmann

Los Angeles: Colin Fraser

Minnesota: Clayton Stoner

Montreal: Max Pacioretty

Nashville: Jordin Tootoo

New Jersey: Petr Sykora

NY Islanders: Jay Pandolfo

NY Rangers: Dan Girardi

Ottawa: Daniel Alfredsson

Philadelphia: Jaromir Jagr

Phoenix: Mike Smith

Pittsburgh: Matt Cooke

San Jose: Tommy Wingels

St. Louis: Brian Elliott

Tampa Bay: Martin St. Louis

Toronto: Joffrey Lupul

Vancouver: Manny Malhotra

Washington: Dennis Wideman

Winnipeg: Jim Slater

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/globe-on-hockey/the-2012-masterton-trophy-nominees/article2382711/

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Guest Dasein

Definitely a toss up between Manny and Raymond, but Raymond's fully healed (as far as I know at least - there probably are some complications) while Manny still is dealing with it as it is permanent.

Surprised to see that Pittsburgh's nominee was Matt Cooke - could have been either Crosby or Malkin.

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Jagr? What did he have to do to get back to the league? Decide to get off his butt and stop collecting tax-free KHL checks for playing half-hearted hockey?

And I guess Boychuk had to get over the idea that he broke another player's back...what a trooper.

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Not surprised, but very happy for him! He's a very underrated player and leader on this team.

Do you happen to know who else is nominated?

Edit: Does every team nominate someone?

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Definitely a toss up between Manny and Raymond, but Raymond's fully healed (as far as I know at least - there probably are some complications) while Manny still is dealing with it as it is permanent.

Surprised to see that Pittsburgh's nominee was Matt Cooke - could have been either Crosby or Malkin.

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it would be great for him to win this award. He is an underrated player. I am sure he is a huge leader in the locker room, which is always great to have :)

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