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NHLPA Player of the Week: Manny Malhotra (anyone thinking "Masterton"?)


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Manny Malhotra is the NHLPA's Player of the Week. Anyone else thinking Masterton might be on the horizon for this guy?


The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. The winner is selected by a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association after each team nominates one player in competition. It is often awarded to a player who has come back from career– or even life-threatening illness or injury.


For all the regular and mundane things that happen in the world of sports on a daily basis, it would be easy for an overtime-winning goal to get lost in the shuffle. But when that OT winner is the exclamation point to an incredible comeback story, one that many people in the world of hockey weren’t sure would ever happen (except maybe the guy who scored the goal), you can’t help but take notice. On Tuesday night, Manny Malhotra enjoyed one of those special moments. And with all the circumstances and obstacles that he has overcome in recent years, you just know that goal was more than just a regular-season overtime goal – albeit the winner that capped off a late comeback win for his team. It was also emphatic proof to himself, his Hurricanes teammates and the entire NHL community that he is still a capable and valuable NHL player.

Respected among his fellow NHLPA members, Manny was involved in meetings and bargaining sessions before and during last season’s lockout. After battling a significant eye injury over the past few seasons, Manny started the 2013-14 season in the AHL with Charlotte. In just his third game back in the NHL, Malhotra made his mark on his new team Following teammate Jordan Staal’s goal that forced overtime with less than a minute to play, Malhotra made a strong play in the middle of the ice early in overtime and, as a result, was sprung on a breakaway by teammate Ron Hainsey. With two Flyers players on his heels, Malhotra made a move to his backhand and slipped the puck past Steve Mason for the OT winner.

With the goal, Malhotra not only rewarded the Hurricanes for giving him the chance to prove himself as an NHL player again, but also showed that he is still a legitimate NHL player. Congrats to Manny on his OT winner and for his perseverance to fight to reclaim his career, on his terms.

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I know, I know, GMMG said no to Manny because he was worried about his play...

However, the timing of it (which was apparently a pre-determined timeline that they both agreed upon) was a little suspect, and something I can't shake, even now.

There was Kes about to come back, JS, we needed a little cap room (my memory could be wrong), and calling it quits on Manny made everything possible to fit the other players in. Plus, Manny's #'s at the time were not great. I just can't help but question whether GMMG was telling the truth and he in fact chose that route to get rid of Manny. I digress, the tin foil hat is now off.

Way to go Manny! I sure wish we still had you on our team, there is no other guy in the league that has as much character :towel:

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Gillis, Vigneault still worried about Malhotra

Back in February, when the Vancouver Canucks announced that center Manny Malhotra had been placed on injured reserve and would miss the remainder of the season, some wondered if the club really did have the player’s best interests at heart.

Malhotra, of course, suffered a serious eye injury in March of 2011 when he was struck with a puck. He managed to return and play around 100 games, but he wasn’t nearly as effective as he was pre-injury.

The Canucks explained they were shutting him down for his own good, with general manager Mike Gillis saying, “The long term health of Manny Malhotra is of utmost importance to our organization.”

Skeptics, however, wondered if they’d done it for an additional $2.5 million in cap space. (The NHL, it should be noted, had no issue with the move, and Malhotra said he didn’t question Gillis’ sincerity.)

Fast forward to the present and Malhotra is six days removed from making his return to the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes, for whom he scored the overtime winner Tuesday.

What did Gillis think of that?

“I think it’s great for Manny, but I’m still, and have been, concerned about him playing,” was Gillis’ answer today on TEAM 1040 radio in Vancouver, adding he wished Malhotra all the best.

Former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, now behind the Rangers’ bench, had a similar response when asked last weekend about his former player’s comeback.

“I’ve got mixed emotions and mixed feelings about that,” said Vigneault, per NorthJersey.com. “On one hand I know that’s what he really wants to do and he’s really worked extremely hard to get another opportunity so if I think of that, I’m happy he’s getting this opportunity. But like he had a real serious injury where we felt as an organization with our medical staff he was putting himself in a tough situation on the ice. I showed him a couple of times, ‘Manny did you see this guy here?’ Most of the time he’d answer that he could feel him. In my opinion, there was a gray area there. That’s a tough one. He’s a real quality person, real quality guy. I know he wants to play. I just hope everything works out for him.

As for Malhotra?

“I’ve always been grateful (for) every moment I’ve played in the NHL,” he told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector yesterday. “But (the injury) puts it into perspective, just how close it was to having it all be done for me.

“After everything I’ve been through, it’s special to know that there is still a (team) who believes in me.”

Then again, Malhotra admits: “My left eye is not what it was, nor will it ever be.”

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I was going to say the say the same thing about MG that the Jester did above you but after reading AV's quote I do buy they were concerned.

I played hockey competitively, and AV's comments show they sat down with him, showed him tape etc. Manny's comments of "I could feel him" I get. As a player you can often sense, even though you can't see a player, that he's there.

That being said, playing in the NHL, against beasts, "feeling" a player is there vs knowing is dangerous, and the words AV used tells me this is true, moreover, he wouldn't lie....

I wish the best for Manny but I do think the Canucks did look out for him.

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