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Gillis: Malhotra 'hasn't been cleared to play yet'

by Dhiren Mahiban /

VANCOUVER -- Questions continue to surround the status of Vancouver Canucks center Manny Malhotra for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The center was not at practice on Tuesday. According to the team, he was at a doctor's appointment.

Last Saturday, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told the media, "Manny has been officially cleared to play." However, on Tuesday GM Mike Gillis was singing a different tune.

"This has been a day-to-day thing all along," Gillis said. "He hasn't been cleared to play yet, he's been cleared for some contact, and he gets monitored every day."

Many believed with Vigneault's announcement over the weekend that Malhotra would be in the lineup for Game 1; however, now it's looking more like a fourth line of Jeff Tambellini, Alexandre Bolduc and Victor Oreskovich will go Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

Malhotra has been out of action since March 16 when he was struck in the eye by a deflected puck. He underwent two separate surgeries on the eye and has one more to go, which will happen in the offseason.

The 31-year-old Mississauga native had 11 goals and 30 points in 72 games while leading all Canucks centers with 61.7 percent in the faceoff circle.

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