Malhotra to miss remainder of season; retirement imminent?

When Manny Malhotra missed the Canucks’ game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday for “personal reasons,” eyebrows were raised as to what those reasons might be. It turned out to be more serious than anyone thought, as the Canucks announced that Malhotra has been placed on Injured Reserve and will miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season.

It’s now quite clear why Mike Gillis was confident that there would still be a spot for Jordan Schroeder once Ryan Kesler returned. With Malhotra gone for the rest of the season, the Canucks’ have a hole at centre ice that needs to be filled. It’s possible that Kesler will return as early as Friday’s game against the Dallas Stars, at which point Schroeder would likely move to the third line, with Maxim Lapierre centring the fourth line and taking the bulk of the defensive zone faceoffs.

The real question now is, what does this mean for Malhotra’s future? The speculation is that his eye injury from 2011 has deteriorated his vision to the point that he will have to retire, but will stay with the team in some capacity.

That he was placed on Injured Reserve is significant. It means that the “personal reasons” for missing Tuesday’s game were likely a little more impersonal in nature. It’s possible that he removed himself from the lineup, finally admitting to himself that his vision was too much of a detriment on the ice.

What lies ahead for Malhotra is unclear. It’s entirely possible that he has played his last game in the NHL, as his vision may never improve. That is assuming that there isn’t another injury affecting him, but it seems safe to assume that this is related to his eye. If he does retire, he could definitely play a role with the Canucks. He is one of the most respected figures in the Canucks’ locker room and around the NHL.

Malhotra frequently ran practices for the Canucks prior to the start of training camp and helped run drills when the team practiced with the UBC Thunderbirds, helping the Thunderbirds’ centres work on faceoffs. It’s easy to imagine him stepping behind the bench, in some sense, to do the same for the Canucks through the rest of the season.

As long as Malhotra is on IR, he continues to collect his salary, but his contract comes off the Canucks’ salary cap due to long-term injury reserve status. He could then choose to retire during the summer and join the Canucks’ coaching staff officially.

For the Canucks, they will hopefully take his absence as inspiration. The last time that Malhotra was placed on the IR, the Canucks went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. Hopefully, this time around, they win it for Manny.

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20 comments

  1. biznow
    February 14, 2013

    :(

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    Rating: +53 (from 53 votes)
  2. Warpstone
    February 14, 2013

    Really sad.

    I hope no one forgets that for much of that 2010-2011 season, is was Maholtra who was probably an even stronger Selke candidate than Kesler.

    I’d love to see Manny remain with the organization.

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    Rating: +62 (from 62 votes)
  3. Tengeresz
    February 14, 2013

    This article is spot on in many ways.

    Win it for Manny!

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    Rating: +17 (from 17 votes)
    • Tengeresz
      February 14, 2013

      … and by “It” you all know what I mean. The only IT that really matters.

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      Rating: +8 (from 10 votes)
      • Kelvin Yu
        February 14, 2013

        Presidents trophy? #3peat

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        Rating: +21 (from 25 votes)
        • peanutflower
          February 14, 2013

          no, not that again.

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          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  4. yobbei
    February 14, 2013

    win it all for Manny. What a class guy.

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    Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
    • the real bob
      February 14, 2013

      And when they win the cup, Hank should pass the cup to Manny first.

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      Rating: +7 (from 11 votes)
  5. Zach Morris
    February 14, 2013

    Eye injuries are nothing to mess around with.
    Hopefully he’ll be able to have a normal life outside hockey.
    We’re all pullin’ for you, Manny!

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    Rating: +21 (from 21 votes)
    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      February 14, 2013

      Between Mattias Öhlund and Bryan Berard, there is some cause for hope, but the outlook still isn’t very good.

      Really hope he makes a full recovery and is not plagued by issues later in life.

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      Rating: +18 (from 18 votes)
  6. kavi36
    February 14, 2013

    Manny is the only player I’ve ever had the chance to meet, and even though it was only a few minutes I remember how genuinely nice he was to me (and I’m sure to everyone he meets). Basically he’s a classy guy on and off the ice, and I’ll be sad if he has to retire. :( I’ll echo the sentiment that if he does end up retiring, I hope he stays with the organization and that his vision isn’t damaged too severely to enjoy his retirement with his family.

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    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  7. Sarah
    February 14, 2013

    Best of luck to Manny!! When he kept missing games and practices, I was worried that there were concerns surrounding his new baby. This is obviously awful, but hopefully he’ll be doing well and have a healthy life outside of hockey (if he is indeed retiring). Glad that everything with the brand new Malhotra seems fine.

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
  8. Carlo
    February 14, 2013

    Win it for Manny!!

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    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  9. eric blacha
    February 14, 2013

    What do you guys think about the decision? I don’t think I seen any cause for concern, and I think I’ve watched every game. I didn’t see him take a bad hit, or make a overly terrible play. I can see how he’s not the same player anymore, but I don’t think he should be out for whole season. Could he need another surgery?

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  10. Nee
    February 14, 2013

    If he really does retire at the end of this season, I hope he joins the Canucks coaching staff or player development. It’s really sad that his career may have been cut short, but he is really talented at coaching and interacting with players…I think he has a long future ahead of him in the NHL. Just maybe not on the ice. : (

    #winitforManny

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  11. steveB
    February 14, 2013

    He had a mostly thankless job- taking faceoffs in the defence end of the rink and getting off the ice, but I will thank him anyhow. Thank you, Manny Malhotra!
    Win it for Manny!

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
  12. tj
    February 14, 2013

    Dammit. I’m so sorry for Manny. And the team. It must weigh heavily on everyone, but just like the trooper and team-guy he is: self-less to the end of his playing career, with a quiet departure, too. I so hope he ends up behind the bench in some capacity at the very least.

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  13. Jacob
    February 14, 2013

    Really sad to hear this. Gillis might get some (not entirely undeserved) criticism for his free agent signings, but bringing in Manny was an A+. Classy guy on and off the ice (one of the first professional athletes in North America to march in a Pride parade anyone?). Here’s hoping we’re able to keep him in the organization in some capacity for many more years.

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  14. iceman
    February 14, 2013

    I’m so sad for Manny. I’ve been hoping that one day he will return to the player he was before the eye injury, but this seems to be the end of the road for his playing days…

    I haven’t had a chance to meet him, but I do know how classy he is. I was at Canucks SuperSkills and saw him waving and smiling at the kids standing behind the glass – and it was all genuine and natural. Manny was truly enjoying the moment, interacting with the little fans from the bottom of his heart. It’s just disheartening to see his career cut short by such a freak injury.

    Back in 2010-2011, Gillis’ signings of Dan Hamhuis and Manny Malholtra were what laid the groundwork for Canuck’s first ever President’s Trophy. Unfortunately we lost Manny toward the end of the season and then Hamhuis at the beginning of SCF, and we all know what happened next… Manny did come back to play in the series but wasn’t even half the player he was before the injury. Along with injuries to our other key players (Kesler, Raymond, Edler…) that’s when Hockey God turned his back on us (and it STILL hurts me).

    Canucks must keep Manny in some capacity with the team. Not only he can pass on his exceptional faceoff skills, but also set an example of what a professional athlete should be like, both on and off the ice. I wish you all the best, Manny!

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  15. James W.
    February 15, 2013

    The Canucks didn’t sign Manny just for the player he was; they signed him for the man he is.

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