Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Hamhuis, Malhotra game-time decisions

Categories: Boston Bruins, VAN vs. BOS, Vancouver Canucks

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Manny Malhotra, out since March 16 with a serious left eye injury, could give Vancouver a boost in the face-off circle if he's able to play in Game 2. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press) Manny Malhotra, out since March 16 with a serious left eye injury, could give Vancouver a boost in the face-off circle if he's able to play in Game 2. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
By Tim Wharnsby, CBC Sports

VANCOUVER - Manny Malhotra and Dan Hamhuis were classified as game-time decisions by Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault on Saturday.

The difference is that Malhotra, out since March 16 with a serious left eye injury, participated in both a practice on Friday and the morning skate on Saturday, and will be out there with his teammates for the warm-up before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m. ET).

Hamhuis, who suffered a suspected left leg injury in the series opener on Wednesday, has not skated nor has he been around to talk to reporters about the seriousness of his ailment.

"I feel really good, yeah," Malhotra said Saturday morning. "I felt good yesterday skating, felt good this morning. So again, hopefully I'll continue throughout the day.

"It's obviously an incredible position to be in. I think everybody that's on the ice tonight has dreamed about this at some point or another in their career, growing up. I realize the significance of the moment. At the same time, once the puck's dropped, I'm going to have to bring it back to the basics."

If Hamhuis can't play in Game 2, look for Andrew Alberts to play in his spot even though the latter has not seen action since the second round on May 3.

Alberts was paired with Christian Ehrhoff in practice on Friday. If Malhotra pulls on a Canucks sweater for the first time in 2½ months, he will play on the fourth line between Jeff Tambellini and Victor Oreskovich, and be asked to take key face-offs. The Bruins won 36 of 64 (56 per cent) of the draws in the series opener, which they lost 1-0.

"If he is able to play, we understand that he's been out for quite some time now, so we'll ease him back in," Vigneault said of Malhotra. "But his strong points are he's good on face-offs, he's smart in our zone. So probably in those situations there we would use him."

Telling the Sedins apart

Vigneault remarked that it took him three years to tell twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin apart, and he's not happy with himself that it took him so long.

"I'm not proud of that," the Canucks coach said.

"The fourth year, when Danny got hurt, he was out of basically my sight for about six weeks, I finally figured out what Hank looked like on a regular basis. Then when I saw Danny again, I was really embarrassed that I couldn't tell them apart because they don't look alike at all.

"They've got two different  personalities. I'm not proud to say it took me three years to figure it out."

Vigneault said that Henrik, the Vancouver captain, is much more outspoken and outgoing than Daniel, and that Daniel listens to his brother.