Manny Malhotra wasn’t a healthy scratch for the Vancouver Canucks last Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild. He wasn’t injured, either, apparently. Instead, he came out of the lineup for “personal reasons.” Two days later it became clear that was a bit of misdirection on the part of the Canucks, as they placed Malhotra on the Injured Reserve list and announced that he was done for the season.
This wasn’t because of a new injury, but because of concerns over an old one. Back in March of 2011, in a game against the Colorado Avalanche, the puck deflected off a stick and impacted Malhotra in his left eye. It was a brutal, devastating injury that cause him to miss the remainder of the regular season and nearly all of the postseason, as he only returned in the Stanley Cup Final.
Malhotra returned and played a full season in 2011-12 in a diminished capacity, but concerns for his safety began to develop in the Canucks’ front office and, just last week, Mike Gillis, the GM of the Canucks, made the call to end his season.
It was a decision that Malhotra didn’t entirely agree with and one that raises a number of questions. The most far-reaching question is who gets to decide when an injured player should play? Who is responsible for that decision?