Christian Ehrhoff ‘Good to Go’ for Game 1, Manny Malhotra Making Progress As Canucks Get Healthier


Christian Ehrhoff 'Good to Go' for Game 1, Manny Malhotra Making Progress As Canucks Get Healthier VANCOUVER — By the time the Stanley Cup Final opens on Wednesday in Vancouver, the Canucks will have had nine days off since dispatching Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final.

That extra time will allow at least one injured Canuck to be ready to return to the lineup against the Bruins, with another potentially also close to a near-miraculous return.

Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff missed the final two games against the Sharks after suffering an upper-body injury, but has returned to full contact in practice. After a Monday workout at Rogers Arena that featured a lengthy scrimmage, he declared, "I'm good to go [for Game 1]."  

The Canucks may also have forward Manny Malhotra back in the lineup for the first time this postseason. Malhotra suffered a serious eye injury March 16 against Colorado when struck in the face with a puck. It was initially believed that Malhotra would miss the rest of the season, with his career in jeopardy.

He's not out of the woods yet, but he's making significant strides. Malhotra has returned to practice and been cleared for contact, and he got plenty of it in Monday's scrimmage.

"These have been two really good test days for me," Malhotra said. "A lot of my status is going to be based on how I feel after these two scrimmages, so it was good to get back in there, mix it up a little bit, feel the pressure in the corners and get in some intense faceoffs."

Malhotra still isn't assured of returning to the lineup, as he still has some tests left to pass.

"I thought today was a good day," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "We scrimmaged and did a little bit of power play and penalty killing, and I thought he looked all right. He's still day to day and we'll see how he practices tomorrow."

If he gets the go-ahead to play, Malhotra doesn't care how much action he sees. Just being back on the ice will be enough.

"If you're ready to play and you're in there, you're ready to play," Malhotra said. "If it's two minutes or 20 minutes it doesn't matter, you're going to be used however coach sees fit."

The one thing that does matter to Malhotra is being able to play the same way he played before the injury. If he can't regain that form, the comeback will be put on hold, at least for now.

"I think that's the thing going forward, either I can play or I can't," Malhotra said. "It's not like I'm saying I'm playing and go and try to play a different game. If I can play it's to do the things I did prior to March 16. And if I can't do those things, well, I'm not going to be in the lineup."

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