The Vancouver Canucks were the recipients of some encouraging news on Friday with Manny Malhotra being cleared for contact. In short, that means he’s able to participate in most practice drills and could very well be in the lineup when the Stanley Cup Finals start on Wednesday. There’s obviously still a lot for Malhotra to overcome as far as conditioning goes, but it’s a positive sign for the Canucks.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke the news via Twitter. Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province also confirmed the news.

Update – Canucks GM Mike Gillis on Malhotra’s recovery via Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun:

“Every day is different, we just have to see how he reacts to a little bit more, a little bit more. We’ll see how he progresses today and tomorrow and then he’ll be re-evaluated.”

“He’s come through major surgeries, and we were told all the downsides and he hasn’t experienced any of them. It’s remarkable, it’s almost stunning,”

“I think the doctors need to be comfortable that his eye is stable and that absolutely no further damage could ever occur by him participating, playing hockey. Once we get that, well be in a different position.”

Again, it’s a very positive development but it doesn’t sound like anyone’s ready to deem Malhotra ready for game action just yet. With the near five days between now and puck drop in Game 1 of the Finals, Malhotra’s status could change dramatically.

We’ll have more on Malhotra as news is available.