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stanley cup finals


No one ever quoted Stephen Grellet in a hockey dressing room, it is safe to say, but that does not mean the most famous sentiment attributed to the 19th century Quaker missionary has not been uttered amongst the sweaty linen.

"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again," is what Grellet is credited with saying.

Manny Malhotra recited the NHL version of that Monday morning, several hours before he and the Vancouver Canucks had the chance to win their first Stanley Cup by beating the Boston Bruins in the sixth game of the championship final.

"When you hear guys who've been in this situation before, they talk about how they had good runs and they expected that to be the norm for the rest of their career and never getting that opportunity again," he said. "You keep that in the back of your mind. You think this may be the only opportunity; you have to make the most of it."

Malhotra is in a position to appreciate the opportunity in front of the Canucks more than most. He is only playing in the final because of a quick recovery that some consider miraculous from a serious eye injury late in the regular season. He is also in his first Cup final at the age of 31 after bouncing around the NHL through 12 seasons and four teams before landing in Vancouver last summer.

"Every team starts with the same goal," Malhotra said. "Some have more realistic chances than others and to be in this opportunity, to play with such a good team all year long, a good, deep team, to be this close; we're looking to seize the moment."

The Canucks are not thinking a loss means they get the chance to win the Cup at home in Game 7 on Wednesday night. They are thinking, Malhotra says, of winning it in Boston on Monday night.

He spent the eve of Game 6 watching the Dallas Mavericks go into Miami on Sunday night and knock off the Heat to win the NBA championship on the road. Now he wants to do the same.

"It was exciting from a fan's standpoint to watch a championship being won by a team and listen to their stories about all the trials and tribulations and the work they put in," Malhotra said. "To be on the doorstep of doing the same is a highly motivating factor."