Are the Canucks doing right by Manny Malhotra?

Nolan Baumgartner was preparing for his 17th season of professional hockey when the Canucks approached him with a better idea: retire, they said, and we’ll help you transition into coaching.

“I wasn’t gonna retire at all,” Baumgartner told us back in October. “I was gonna play a a few more years.”

Instead, Baumgartner seized the opportunity, which would allow him to get in his first reps as a coach in a great situation, as part of an organization he respected and under a coach he admired in Scott Arniel. Sure, he might have been able to play a little longer, but if coaching was in his future, this was a head start he couldn’t pass up. So Baumgartner retired, shifting from the Chicago Wolves’ blueline corps to their coaching corps.

I suspect the Vancouver Canucks are hoping the Manny Malhotra situation will have the same happy ending. Here’s a guy that has already shown the leadership, intelligence, and skill necessary to move behind the bench. He’s run drills for the team before. He’s mentored and instructed prospects on defensive positioning, posture and faceoffs. The organizations believes Malhotra’s got all the necessary tools to coach, and, since they also believe he no longer has the necessary tools to play the game safely, it would appear they believe now is the time to make that transition.

But Malhotra doesn’t appear to feel the same way.

On Thursday, the Canucks announced that they were shutting Malhotra down for the season, citing concerns over his vision stemming from a facial injury he suffered in March of 2011, when a puck deflected off of Jannik Hansen’s stick and into his left eye.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve done in this job,” Gillis told the media. “It was a situation that changed Manny’s life in half a second on an innocent play. Watching what he did to try and recover from that, it was a difficult decision for me to make. It was one that has been thought about for a long time. We came to the conclusion that for his long-term health it was the best thing we could do.”

It’s not hard to see what the Canucks are talking about when it comes to Malhotra’s health. While the defensive centre’s not exactly Turanga Leela out there, he was the first to admit, upon his return in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, that he’ll never again have 20-20 vision in that eye. He countered by explaining that he never had it to begin with, and that the slight downgrade in his ability to scan the periphery wouldn’t affect his play. From Jim Jamieson at The Province:

“Not [a problem] at all,” said Malhotra. “I can see the entire spectrum of what I need to see. That’s all that matters.”

Malhotra said the eye injury won’t force him to alter his game.

“I think that’s a thing going forward,” he said. “It’s either I can play or I can’t. It’s not to say I can play and play a different game. If I can play it’s to do the things I could do prior to March 16. If I can’t do those things, then I’m not going to be in the lineup.

One of those things was protect against serious injury, and Malhotra was mindful of the adjustments he’d have to make in this regard. “It’s just a matter of conditioning,” Malhotra told Eric Duhatschek of The Globe & Mail, “to see how I feel, the pace of play, and to make sure I’m comfortable enough and confident enough to make sure I’m protecting myself and being safe out there.”

The threat to safety is a big one. A deficient eye is hardly something to shrug off in a speedy game like hockey, where a blind-side hit to the head can not only end a career, but have severe, lasting repercussions long after its over. And if Malhotra’s left blind-side was larger than most hockey players due to diminished sight, it may have only been a matter of time.

The Canucks felt the hit was coming, and they took to the video room to prove it to Malhotra. From Dan Murphy of Sportsnet:

I know the Canucks showed Malhotra video footage from last season and this season of situations where they thought he was at risk on the ice. I heard there was a play from the game in Minnesota this season where if Dany Heatley was Cal Clutterbuck, Malhotra could have been in trouble.

The issue I’m seeing here is that, while the Canucks are convinced of Malhotra’s risk, it doesn’t seem, to me, that they’ve yet to fully convince Malhotra. It’s telling that Malhotra has not spoken since the announcement was made, and chose not to answer any questions when he skated with the team at Sunday’s practice. No doubt the organization would have preferred an endorsement of their decision by now.

But Malhotra may not endorse it. According to Murphy, “Malhotra would have considered carrying on this season with another team but the Canucks were having none of that.”

In other words, this wasn’t entirely a collaborative decision. Gillis made an executive decision.

“There are times when hockey is a secondary idea behind long-term health,” Gillis said. “These are really difficult decisions for all of us. It’s going to be difficult for Manny … but I took it out of his hands — and I wasn’t going to move forward the way it was going.”

That sounds very noble, but while it remains to be seen (ugh) as to whether or not what they’re doing is the right thing for him, I don’t think what they’re doing is right.

As quoted above, Malhotra said himself that he didn’t expect to play if he couldn’t do the things he could do prior to March 16. It’s clear the Canucks don’t feel he can, at least in terms of protecting himself — and frankly, I’d say his ability to carry the puck through the neutral zone has fallen off as well — so it’s not unreasonable for him to be plucked from the lineup. But the Canucks aren’t just taking him out of the lineup. They’re taking him out of hockey.

Murphy agrees with the decision:

That’s the right call. Waiving him or seeing if someone else was interested in his services would have been like washing their hands of the situation. The Canucks are placing Malhotra’s safety above all else and I believe the way they’ve handled this proves that.

I’m not so sure.

I don’t know enough about Malhotra’s condition to have an opinion on whether or not shutting him down is the right call for him. But I have an opinion on to whom that call belongs. It’s Malhotra’s. If the Canucks aren’t comfortable playing him, they have every right not to play him. Sometimes guys just want to play, even when it’s clear they shouldn’t. RGIII’s playoff injury comes to mind. But the team decides who goes into the game and comes out. That’s fine.

The Canucks have every right to try to convince Malhotra he’s in danger too, whether it’s through video footage or just a heart-to-heart conversation. If their concern is genuine enough to go this route, and not the most despicable cap manoeuvring in hockey’s history, that’s fantastic.

But Malhotra has every right to say thanks, but I disagree, and if you’re not comfortable playing me, trade me. It’s not washing their hands of the situation to move him. It’s allowing a player to make up his own mind about whether to end his playing career.

Maybe he hasn’t asked. Maybe he reluctantly agrees with Gillis’s executive decision and he’s too upset to say so right now. There’s still a lot we don’t know about this situation and I sincerely hope additional information will change the way it appears to me. But if Malhotra wants to play and the Canucks can find someone that wants to play him, they owe it to him to do that.

Not everyone is going to react like Nolan Baumgartner, quietly extinguishing the fire and moving onto the next thing because it’s a good and right situation. But even if that’s what would be best for Malhotra, it’s nobody’s call to make but his.

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37 comments

  1. Luongold
    February 18, 2013

    Not Jannik’s stick, but Erik Johnson’s stick!

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  2. Sean
    February 18, 2013

    Love Manny but if Gillis isn’t willing to deal him for a conditional 7th or place him on waivers then clearly they feel he’s not in a position to play the game.

    Part of being a professional athlete is not taking no for an answer. Guys will tell themselves that they still can play even though everyone around them can see what’s actually happening. Dave Andreychuk being placed on waivers by Tampa being a clear example of this.

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  3. Dave
    February 18, 2013

    I think part of the issue is that they haven’t closed the door on Malhotra entirely. It may be a long shot (and perhaps a zero-shot in the team’s eyes), but in Manny’s position, it’s understandable and admirable to continue to give your all to completing your rehab and contributing to the team.

    That’s where the two diverge. Manny is not in a position where he can allow himself to give up, while the team can be more realistic. This may be a blessing for Manny, because if he were on a different team (or traded to one), there would be nobody stopping him from doing what he can’t bring himself to stop doing. This allows him to continue not to give up, without putting himself in jeopardy.

    After all, if Manny really wanted to play, and disagreed with management, he could say so. He could publicly demand a trade. The fact that he’s not doing so may be because it’s out of keeping with his character — but it’s still his choice. If he wanted to say the Canucks are wrong and I’ll prove it, he could.

    Things will become clearer next year one way or another. For one, if he hasn’t rehabbed by then, it will become increasingly clear it’s not going to happen. Also, with his contract expired, if he really does want to play elsewhere he will be completely free to do so.

    My guess is that Manny doesn’t want to give up, and the Canucks are giving him a way out — he can keep the hope alive without having to put himself at risk. I’m not saying he agrees with the decision, but that’s because with the Canucks making the executive decision, he’s in a position where he can afford not to.

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  4. Brent
    February 18, 2013

    Thanks for writing this. You articulated what I am feeling. I really want to believe that Gillis isn’t screwing Manny and has his best interests at heart, but the optics are terrible. And, as with politics, in sports the optics are usually considered to be the truth. I am still waiting to hear from Manny before I (potentially) vent my spleen. Who is going to get that interview? Get on it guys. The truth is out there…….

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  5. Kyle
    February 18, 2013

    Manny certainly has the freedom to continue to pursue hockey next year, as his contract expires this season, though I wonder if this kerfuffle ruins the market for him at all. I still wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see Manny traded in the coming months, if he’s insistent that he can still play.

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  6. Sarah
    February 18, 2013

    Thanks for voicing this train of thought – it’s one I’ve been having ever since the announcement.

    I don’t know if I entirely agree with this whole piece though. I think athletes are conditioned to never say die. Perhaps Malhotra would be likely to push through an injury to his own detriment. Athletes have done it before – RGIII seems like a good example.

    I wonder if there are times when it’s important for management (hopefully upon the advise of team doctors) to say “ok, you have to call it quits.” Malhotra is still a young guy in human terms (maybe less so in hockey terms), he has a young family and it would be nice if he could be a healthy guy. I hope that the team didn’t make a completely unilateral decision about his future, based primarily on the betterment of the team – I’m hoping the final decision came from a place of concern regarding Malhotra’s health/future as well as that of the team.

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  7. akidd
    February 18, 2013

    how does the ltir work? one day manny’s eye is not an injury and the next day it is. are there not minimum sight specs to clear before being allowed to play in the nhl? it should be simple enough that if manny passes the sight test he’s not eligible for the ltir(and gillis would have to play him or waive him.) and if he’s doesn’t pass he’s not eligible to play in the nhl(and gillis can’t waive him.)

    the decision should be neither gillis’ nor manny’s.

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  8. Jason
    February 18, 2013

    Really good article. What added it to for me was the timing. Gillis says he’s unwilling to risk Malhotra’s health, but the fact that this decision came out the day before Kesler returned to the lineup makes it seem almost impossible that Manny’s health the only thing on the table for consideration. Like the author, I *hope* this isn’t what it looks like, but with Malhotra choosing to continue to skate without addressing the media… it sure seems to look like what it looks like. Haha, and it’s sentences like *that*, folks, that will prevent me from ever becoming a paid writer!

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 18, 2013

      The timing makes it look bad, but there’s another way to look at it. Gillis said (and I believe him) that this was one of the most difficult decision he’s had to make as GM and it’s one that he’s been wrestling with for awhile. It’s entirely possible that Kesler’s imminent return simply made the decision that he knew he had to make easier. He could entirely remove the issue of team success from his mind and make a more clear-headed decision.

      I’m not saying that is the case: it could be the more cynical view or it could be entirely coincidental or there could be something else going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about. I’m trying to avoid making a judgement on the situation until there’s more information out there.

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      February 19, 2013

      Here’s where this sentence comes in: “If their concern is genuine enough to go this route, and not the most despicable cap manoeuvring in hockey’s history, that’s fantastic.

      I figure it’s really both — the same move can’t really go 180 degrees from fantastic to despicable entirely because of the motivation behind it. When a corporation sponsors a golf tournament because it’s a tax write-off and good publicity, it’s not “a bad thing”, it’s just that it serves more than one purpose.

      I think the Canucks were legitimately concerned for Manny’s safety on a general level (because they’re not heartless ogres), but the need to manage the cap and the timing of Kesler/Booth’s returns made it an easier choice for them to do something about it (not even just do something about it now), and a choice that, yes, was motivated by the need to do their jobs and run a hockey team in compliance with the CBA.

      Is it that different from sending down a waiver-exempt player even though his play doesn’t deserve it? It’s a bit cynical, and definitely unfair, but more “annoying reality” than “despicable”. Manny’s situation is really just a worse version of that, I think: his condition — through no fault of his own — makes a necessary personnel decision a bit easier to make, but with the added factor that it is arguably also in his best interest.

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  9. Jason
    February 18, 2013

    Sorry!! “What added it to for me was the timing.” should be “What added TO IT for me was the timing.”

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  10. Amor de Cosmos
    February 18, 2013

    First, only Manny and Canucks management know the medical situation. Second, if Manny feels he can still play he’s free to ask for a trade or wait until he becomes a free agent. For this reason saying the Canucks are “shutting him down” is inaccurate.

    Stripped of the ethical justifications the club is saying he’s no longer able to physically do the job they’re paying him to do. They have every right to act on that position. Just as Manny has every right to seek employment elsewhere. The Canucks have offered him an alternative position in the organization. They didn’t have to do that. If the club stopped playing him with no explanation, people would jump to their own conclusions anyway, which was beginning to happen before Gillis’s announcement.

    I think Manny Malhotra is a class guy, on and off the ice. I think, understandably, he’s deeply hurt right now, but I don’t think — based on what we know — the Canucks can be faulted for their treatment of him in any way.

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  11. jer
    February 18, 2013

    Yeah, like a few other commenters, I just don’t get what MG’s motive would be to shut Malholtra down other than health reasons. If it was a roster/cap thing, that’s easily solved via waivers or a trade. Like Murph pointed out, if what they say is accurate (that they believe he’s placing himself in danger when he plays) than letting himself go out and do it for another team is a pretty gross idea, specifically because of the athlete’s proclivity to downplaying their own weakness to get out on the field/ice. (And if they didn’t, they’d never make it to the big leagues, frankly).

    MG has the means and opportunity to be screwing Manny over, I just don’t see the motive.

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  12. Nick
    February 18, 2013

    Actual health risk or not, Malholtra is just not good enough anymore. No team in the league will be interested in a guy who is good at faceoffs but little else. With the arrival of Jensen or Gaunce or forwards obtained in a goalie trade; Manny, as classy as he is, would have been the first to get bumped.

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      February 19, 2013

      Yanic Perreault had gainful NHL employment for quite a long time pretty much based on face-offs alone.

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  13. Canucklehead_in_T.O.
    February 18, 2013

    Thanks for the thoughtful article.
    I find it really, really hard to assess this situation objectively because of all the emotional/psychological drama surrounding Manny’s story (the shock of the injury, the ensuing uncertainty surrounding his future, the dedication to making a comeback, the emotional appearance to accept the President’s trophy with Henrik, the movie-script return during the SCF, etc). It’s all still fresh in our minds, I think. For me (and for many Canucks fans, I imagine), Manny’s saga (and the media attention and the emotional high-stakes surrounding it) allowed Manny to cross the usual fan/player divide. For a lot of us, I think Manny moved from “guy who plays on my favourite team, who is a solid bottom-six centre and seems like a genuinely good dude” to “person who exists in three dimensions, and has a life outside of hockey, and for whom I generally wish good things”. I think we all got to “know” Manny a little bit during the 2011 season and playoffs, in ways that we don’t always get to “know” pro-athletes, and I think it’d be hard to find anyone who wasn’t moved by his story and inspired by his efforts to rejoin the squad and continue contributing in all the ways, on the ice and off, that, through his absence, we came to understand that Manny did.

    All of that emotional, touchy-feely stuff clouds my ability to look at the organizations decision with clear eyes and, to be honest, I think all of that emotional, touchy-feely stuff also played a (large?) role in Gillis’s decision to let him go gently. We, as fans, genuinely care about Manny. I think the Canucks organization (which is privy to not only the things we fans have been able to learn about Manny’s role on the team and his character as a person, but also all the many behind-the-scenes things we don’t get a chance to see) genuinely cares about him much, much more than we do. Maybe I’m naive, but I’m inclined to believe Gillis when he says this was the hardest decision he’s had to make as GM, and I’m inclined to think that his decision to keep Manny within the organization was inspired from a place of true care and generosity. Like many have said, it would be easy enough to waive him if cap space or his deteriorating play were the only issues. Keeping Manny within the Canucks’ fold and providing him with opportunities to stay connected while he comes to terms with the end of his playing career is, in my opinion, a really touching act of kindness.

    Manny is, of course, a big boy and is certainly able and entitled to make his own decisions, and he will be free to do so when his contract expires (as is true of any player under contract to any organization). If Manny wants to keep playing, despite his reduced capacity, I’m sure with his determination and passion he will be able to find an organization who will gladly take him on (though I imagine a pretty drastic salary cut might be the price Manny pays for continuing his playing career). If that is what Manny wants, then that is what he will work hard to get. Until then, GMMG is keeping Manny safe and giving Manny the time and space he needs to realize that Gillis’s decision was, tragic though it may be, the right one.

    I wish Manny all the best, in whatever his future holds. Truly.

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  14. Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
    February 18, 2013

    One thing that I think is important to note is that they didn’t pull Manny out one game and have Ryan playing the next game, which would better fit the “coincidence” conspiracy. Manny was pulled out for Ebbett against Minnesota, and Kesler came back the following game against Dallas.

    I think Gillis gave him to game 10 to show he was able to play safely on the ice, and then pulled him. They didn’t put him on IR immediately after the Calgary game, but I think that was as much for his pride while they tried to convince him he was no longer safe on the ice.

    Also, if Dan Murphy’s interpretation is correct, it was the first game against Minnesota that really did it all. Apparently Dany Heatley came in on Manny’s blind side, and if it had been Clutterbuck he would have been in a world of hurt.

    As for waiving or trading him, I don’t think that was an option because of Gillis’ character. He’s got a long history regarding injuries, and if he is pulling a player off the ice for the player’s own safety, he can’t in good conscience send them to play elsewhere because that would just be passing the responsibility to someone else, and letting them expose Manny to risks Gillis isn’t willing to.

    In the end, I think for Gillis it wasn’t a matter of should he have made that decision, but that he couldn’t make any other decision and remain himself.

    As for his right to make the decision, I think that Gillis did have the right to make this decision because the Canucks own the rights to Manny playing hockey for the duration of his contract. They do not have the right to force him to retire, but they do have every right to say that he will not play professional hockey at any level for the duration of his contract with the organization. They own his playing rights, so they can determine how and if they are exercised. So when a player is in a position like Manny, where he can play, but at the same time has enough of a health issue that they can put him on IR without the NHL or NHLPA calling shenanigans, then yes, the organization makes the call.

    Six months from now, he’s a free agent, it’s his call. Right now, it’s Gillis’.

    Personally I think he’s at that level where he understands it intellectually but is having more trouble accepting it emotionally. With luck he’ll be a valued member of the organization for years to come.

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  15. Nee
    February 18, 2013

    “But Malhotra has every right to say thanks, but I disagree, and if you’re not comfortable playing me, trade me.”

    I agree with this. But there are an awful lot of unknowns here. Maybe Manny hasn’t really pushed for a trade yet. Maybe the footage they have of Manny risking injury is really convincing. Maybe Manny is still digesting it all and hasn’t made a decision either way yet. He’s 32, still quite young, so this has to be a really gut wrenching decision for him.

    Like you said, I hope more info comes out. And I hope Manny feels comfortable enough to speak about this sometime soon.

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    • PeeSeeGee
      February 18, 2013

      A couple of other complications with the waive / trade scenario:
      – Waivers aren’t really an option because, if he clears, Gillis just has the same problem but in Chicago, or Manny has to refuse to report in which case the whole situation just looks a lot worse.
      – The trade scenario would probably have issues too. How does Gillis trade someone he doesn’t think should be playing. Phone up other GM’s and come clean about the situation (putting other GM’s in a tough spot and probably for little benefit)? Have Manny’s agent negotiate the trade (where he is trying to trade an asset he doesn’t have the rights to).

      The other thing to consider is whether Malhotra would want a trade for the remainder of the season (which would mean 4 months away from his family who all live in Vancouver). This may actually be best case scenario for him. He gets to train with the team so he can stay in shape, is getting paid and isn’t at risk. If his eye gets better or he feels he can play for another team then he can negotiate a longer deal in the summer when uprooting his wife & kids makes more sense. If his eye doesn’t get better, he is free to roll into a Baumgartner type deal.

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    • Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
      February 18, 2013

      One problem with that it’s it’s hypocrisy on Gillis’ part. If he feels Manny should not be on the ice because of the risk of injury, then trading him is no different than playing him. In both cases, Gillis is enabling a player he does not think can play safely to play, whether in a Canucks uniform or not.

      Keeping him on IR is consistent with Gillis’ stated concerns for his long-term health, trading him isn’t.

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      • John in Marpole
        February 18, 2013

        I believe that players listed on the LTIR may not be eligible to be traded.

        As the Canucks medical staff have designated Manny as having a long term injury, which they would have had to do for him to be put on that list due to the salary-cap implications, there is no way that another team could or would trade for him, until he was certified as medically fit.

        And then there is the insurance implications. LTIR means that the insurance company is paying Manny’s salary, not the Canucks. They and their doctors had to agree that he is indeed unable to physically play before they assumed responsibility for his salary.

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  16. eric blacha
    February 18, 2013

    I hope he does get traded, if he really does want to play. He deserves to play.

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  17. SeattleFan
    February 18, 2013

    I believe that this was a tough call for Gillis, I think he honestly would rather have Manny out and playing with the team. But, he also has to be realistic that just because a player says he is okay with taking the risk that it won’t come back to bite Gillis or the organization. I guess the cynical part of me is not thinking that he is looking to avoid a cap hit, but maybe a potential lawsuit. If he plays or trades Manny and he gets really hurt, who is going to compensate him or his family? Even if Manny signs a legal document that says he takes on the risk that does not always hold up, especially if he ends up with serious medical needs. I am guessing they had this conversation with him, and use the tape as an example of the potential risk and are hoping Manny realizes that his health is more important.

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  18. Cody
    February 18, 2013

    I’m with you Harrison. Every human being has the right to a degree of autonomy. Malhotra is the only person who can make the decision about his ability to play the game safely. He should at least be allowed to find out if other teams agree with the assessment of his safety on the ice that the Canucks have made. Taking this decision away from him is not the right choice in this situation.

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    • John in Marpole
      February 18, 2013

      As I pointed out up-thread, for Manny to be placed on LTIR it wasn’t just Gillis who decided that he cannot safely play, it was also the Canucks medical staff and the insurance company (and their doctors) that is now paying his salary.

      That last one is the kicker, no insurance company is going to pick up a multi-million dollar contract just because a GM says they should.

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      • Cody
        February 18, 2013

        How do you explain his playing up until this point then?

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        • J21 (@Jyrki21)
          February 19, 2013

          That’s John’s point: the insurance company — if indeed they’re the ones paying — must have been satisfied that in spite of his playing up until now, the medical case was strong to take him out. They’re not really known for generous interpretation of their obligations.

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          • Cody
            February 19, 2013

            Thanks J21. I was asking for clarification as I’m not an expert.

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  19. nanodummy
    February 18, 2013

    After reading Murphy’s article, I have to say I think his argument is sound:

    Ebbet, Volpatti or others could have been sent down to keep Manny on the roster; Manny could have been traded for a bag of pucks, or bought out, or put on waivers; There is evidence Manny might not be safe; The narrative of the roster lacking Kesler and Booth giving Manny a chance to prove himself seems plausible.

    Other things he did not mention are the fact that LTIR isn’t just a GM’s whim, as stated above, but a decision made by doctors and insurance companies as well, Lapierre’s expanded role in the defensive zone, the fact that if the ‘nucks doctors won’t clear him, why would another teams, thereby making a trade impossible and the fact that they’ve scratched Manny several times this season, citing personal reasons, but perhaps that can be viewed in a different light now.

    I feel very sad that such a talented player suffered such a senseless tragedy, and honestly, offering him a role in the organization is classy and thoughtful: other teams might not do that for a player.

    Manny may try to lace up again, and maybe a different set of doctors will have a different opinion, but I truly believe that Gillis is acting on conscience, not out of convenience.

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  20. Erik
    February 18, 2013

    How come no one in the media is mentioning how Manny just had a new child? This may be a huge factor in his transitioning from player to coach.

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  21. Abby
    February 18, 2013

    Everything about this situation sucks.

    Sorry. I wish I could say something intelligent, but all my brain has been thinking re: Manny’s situation is suck suck suck suck SUCK.

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  22. John
    February 19, 2013

    This is why this issue is so contentious. Just over a month ago the Redskins were ridiculed for allowing RGIII to play while injured. Everybody, at the time, it seemed, thought the Redskins’ organization should have put the player’s safety before everything else and prevented him from playing. Even though he wanted to play and thought he could play.

    Here we have a situation where the team has put the player’s safety first and it is being argued that the player should be the one to make the final decision.

    I feel terrible for Manny but I am still not sure how I feel about the decision. (I can’t make up my mind.) But this is a good example about how difficult these decisions are to make.

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  23. Adam Nowek
    February 19, 2013

    This is ridiculous conjecturing. We go from one day of gushy nostalgia about big moments for Malhotra as a Canuck, and now we’re turning on the organisation itself? Holy christ, it’s no wonder fans of the other 29 teams in the NHL think Canucks fans are nutty and try to purposefully drive people out of town.

    Lighten up and stop with the conspiracy theories. All we know is that Manny Malhotra is not playing hockey right now, and potentially might not ever again due to his eye injury. We also know that he hasn’t spoken to the media since, and he’s participated in an on-ice session. None of this suggests that Malhotra wants to be traded or that the Canucks have done anything unethical.

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  24. physsie1
    February 19, 2013

    with the new face off rules in place with centers no longer allowed to cover up the puck it had a definite affect on Manny’s game. His face off wins have not been as good as others but he was still a clinch guy in the offensive zone. He did well against Chicago on the 1st of Feb and was throwing his weight around in the corners as well. It may well have been time for him to move on or into a different capacity but I do not buy that the organization was worried about him getting hurt. Manny knows what it is to be “hurt”, the organization did not worry last year or the first few games this year. I would love to see Manny in a canucks uniform be it off the ice or on, it was time for him to move I am in fact surprised it didnt happen sooner but I cannot stand the party line that the Canucks are worried about him. Gillis really has a way of spinning the truth but i wish he would just say it the truth that is the whole truth and nothing but. There my two cents worth and a total bargain

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 19, 2013

      Just a heads up: Malhotra was 65.3% on faceoffs this season to lead the NHL. That’s the thing, he wasn’t playing poorly. That’s why I believe Gillis when he says that they did this out of concern for his health. It couldn’t have been about getting him out of the lineup because he was hurting the team, because he wasn’t hurting the team.

      Why don’t you think Gillis is telling the truth? Do you have any reason to not believe him?

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  25. TamaraB
    February 21, 2013

    We can look to the way the organisation and GMMG treated MayRay too — they waited out the injury, giving him opportunity after opportunity to get his legs back, to get his confidence back, and MayRay is playing pretty sweetly right now.

    They aren’t just willynilly going to pull Manny because they felt like it after affording him the same opportunity. They’ve let him rehab, come back, get his legs back, to play. And in observing his play this season, good though it is, the changes to the face off rules may no longer make the risk (of injury) expedient to the reward (66% win).

    As coaches and managers they see the play differently than we do, they’re watching for specific things we aren’t privy to. If Heatly had been Marchand or Lucic or Chara… Or Clutterbuck or…. we could be dealing with more than hurt feelings.

    I don’t want that for Manny. So as much as I feel terrible for the hurt feelings, I have to assume that GMMG and AV have only Manny’s best interests in mind.

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  26. kate
    February 22, 2013

    Talented and really seems like a classy, down-to-earth guy off the ice. Whatever happens, I wish him and his family all the best. I’ll always be a fan of this guy.

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