Manny Malhotra’s career-threatening injury will likely renew calls for making helmet visors mandatory in the NHL. It could also cost the Canucks a key player for the postseason. (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Stu Hackel
The initial concern for Vancouver’s Manny Malhotra, who suffered a serious eye injury on Wednesday, is not for this season or even his career, but for his future. Damage to one’s eyesight can be a life-altering experience.
The second concern is for all NHL players, because risking their careers and their eyesight by not wearing visors seems foolhardy.
As for the first-overall-in-the-NHL Canucks, losing Malhotra may force their biggest injury test of the season — and they’ve had a few. Third line center being out indefinitely will rob them of their top face-off man and one of the best in the game. Malhotra’s 61.7 percent success rate currently ranks second in face-off winning percentage to the Devils ‘David Steckel (63). Blocking shots and breaking up plays, Malhotra also a main Manny on the Canucks’ penalty-kill, which also ranks second in the league. Last season, the Canucks’ PK ranked 18th. Special teams play is a key to success in the playoffs and Malhotra’s expertise would be greatly missed if he cannot return.