x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Vision of Malhotra playing is inspirational one

The sight of Manny Malhotra taking the ice for Vancouver, after several eye operations to restore vision in his left eye, is inspirational.

Many players in the Stanley Cup finals have a compelling tale, a storybook trek that has brought them to this point.

And they are prepared to do pretty much anything to complete the journey, to win the title and contribute to their team's championship effort.

This year, the player whose story has captured the public's imagination is that of Manny Malhotra, the Vancouver Canucks centre, whose career - and eyesight - were in jeopardy when he took a deflected puck in the face in March.

The vision in his left eye was in question; of lesser importance, his season was thought to be over. Malhotra would not be involved in the play-offs.

But there he was, on the eve of the finals, taking part in a training session in full equipment, cleared for contact after two eye operations in less three months, and coming off another eye procedure just days earlier.

His left eye still looks red and puffy. Malhotra did not play in Game 1, but he took the pre-game skate before Game 2 to thunderous applause and chants of "Manny! Manny!" And he played.

Less than eight minutes, on the fourth line, but he played. And he did exactly what was asked of him, winning six of seven face-offs, killing penalties, inspiring both the fans and his teammates in the process. He played another 15 minutes in Game 3.

It is the comeback of the year, of the play-offs, of the Stanley Cup. A great story.