If you’re not a hockey fan, you may not have heard of Manny Malhotra, the greatest desi ever to hit the ice (Smirnoff included). After suffering a severe eye injury on March 16, he recovered just in time to give a boost to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final (you may have caught parts of it during the Extreme Makeover commercial breaks).
The Canucks led in the circle in the regular season, at 54.9 per cent. They’re at 49.9 in the playoffs and a lot of the drop-off is because Malhotra and his 61.7 per cent win rate were on the sidelines until Game 2.
“Over the last couple of weeks as I’ve started to work toward this goal, being able to take draws against guys like Kes and Hank and Lappy really pushes you to get to that next level,” said Malhotra. “The competitive level we have at centre really gets your timing back.”
Malhotra did remarkably well overall in 7: 26 of ice time. He played 13 shifts, including killing penalties and taking a leftwing shift on the third line in relief of Raffi Torres.
He purposely kept his game simple and saw the 7: 26 as a good transition back into playing. In the regular season, as one of the best third line centres in the league and in the conversation for the Selke Trophy for top defensive forward, Malhotra averaged 16: 09. [Vancouver Province]
The Bruins walloped the Canucks 8-1 in Game 3, but Malhotra’s team still leads the series 2-1 and has home ice advantage.
Malhotra, whose full name is Emmanuel Noveen Malhotra, began playing
organized hockey at age 7, when his parents apparently made the wrong
turn on the way to the cricket field. His father, Shadi, is from Lahore,
Punjab, in pre-partition India (present day Pakistan) and mother, Lise,
is French-Canadian. (Both his parents hold doctorate degrees from the
UniversitÃ© Laval in
QuÃ©bec City — his father a doctorate in polymer chemistry and his
Drafted in the first round by the New York Rangers in 1998, Malhotra has played on five NHL teams and is the second NHL player of South Asian origin. (The first was Robin Bawa of British Columbia, who spent parts of four seasons in the NHL in the early 1990s but was never a regular starter.)
married to Joann Nash, sister of two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and retired
soccer pro Martin Nash. He has scored 101 NHL goals, one of which can
be seen in the 2009 NHL Network feature “A day in the life: Manny
when he played in Columbus.