March 21, 2011
Following an initial procedure and continued treatment it has been determined through consultation with team doctors and specialists that Manny Malhotra will not return to the Canucks lineup for the remainder of this regular season and playoffs. No further comment will be made at this time.
Malhotra was hit in the left eye with a puck against the Colorado Avalanche on March 16. He underwent surgery, was re-evaluated and the Canucks announced the news that he'll be shut down on Monday afternoon.
As we said last week, the Canucks have played through several high-profile injuries this season, mostly to their defense. Malhotra, however, was a critical cog in a machine that's within reach of the President's Trophy. He's their leader at forward in penalty-killing ice time (2:45) and was at a stellar 61.7 percent on faceoffs in 1,261 attempts — the best winning percentage for players north of 1,100 faceoffs on the season.
As GM Mike Gillis said in a glowing profile of Malhotra for the Vancouver Province: "Overall, he's been one of the best additions we've made over the last two years."
He skated primarily with Jannik Hansen(notes) and Raffi Torres(notes) on the third line this season, as well as with Mikael Samuelsson(notes) and Torres. On Friday night, Max Lapierre skated with Hansen and Torres, before Mason Raymond(notes) replaced Torres on that line. Raymond and Chris Higgins(notes) picked up the penalty killing slack against the Phoenix Coyores, along with Ryan Kesler(notes) (4:01 TOI on the PK).
Malhotra's the kind of player that you want on a championship team. It appears if the Canucks are going to be one this season, it'll be without him. And that's a challenge.
But that's on the ice. Let's hope Malhotra can recover from this … and that his health isn't swallowed up by what we imagine will be a vigorous debate on visors around the NHL. Check out more on the Canucks' reaction to the injury from Mississauga.com.