It is a game of emotions. Hockey is not much good without them.
When the Vancouver Canucks leap on to the ice this afternoon for the second game of the Stanley Cup Final, and U2's music blares and towels wave and pulses race amid the thunder of this moment, chances are no one will have as many emotions coursing through him as Manny Malhotra. On March 16, a puck ricocheted into his left eye socket and Malhotra feared he might never see clearly again.
Two weeks later, he had major surgery in New York and a few days after that had the courage to tell National Hockey League teammates, some in tears, that he wouldn't play hockey again this season.
And that there were no guarantees for the next one.
Malhotra has been with his teammates all along. But tonight, he should be one of them again.
The 31-year-old centre, who helped recast the Canucks' identity with his leadership and professional ideals, was expected after Friday's practice to return from his devastating injury today against the Boston Bruins.