The Vancouver Canucks have announced that forward Manny Malhotra is out for the season. He has not “adapted sufficiently” from his eye injury and was put on the injured reserve list Thursday for the remainder of the year.
“For me, it’s the hardest thing I’ve had to do in this job,” said Vancouver GM Mike Gillis. “It’s, basically, a situation that changed Manny’s life in a half-a-second play, and watching what he did to try and recover from that, and the difficulty of it, it was a very difficult decision for me to make…and one that I’ve thought about for some time. It wasn’t done on the spur of the moment at all.”
Now there are rumblings that Malhotra’s career may be done. He’s in the final year of a three-year deal with the Canucks and, unless he can get a deal with another club, may not return to the game.
Malhotra first suffered the injury in March of 2011 when he was struck in the eye with a puck. In the summer of that year, he underwent a series of operations. By the time the 2010-2011 playoffs hit, Manny was back for the Finals. Unfortunately, his play fell off last season and he struggled to keep up.
And with this season’s slow start, it looks like things have reached the bottom.
Gillis says that he gave Malhotra 10 games to prove that he was “at less risk.” After determining “no discernible change” in his play and noting several instances where Malhotra was “extremely vulnerable,” the decision was made.
“In my opinion, it didn’t get worse, but there wasn’t the type of change necessary for him to not be at a much higher risk than everybody else out on the ice,” Gillis said.
As of right now, the Canucks are looking for a way to give Malhotra a role with the team. “We’re gonna try and find ways here to make him contribute and, hopefully, it’ll be an easy adjustment for him,” said coach Alain Vigneault.
It’s possible for him to serve as some sort of mentor for face-offs, for instance.
If the Canucks have any good news to offer at this point, it’s that Ryan Kesler will likely be back in the line-up for Friday. “He’s been medically cleared to play,” said Vigneault. “He looks really good on the ice.”