Injured Canucks forward Manny Malhotra skated by himself at Rogers Arena Wednesday, wearing a full-cage facemask.
His appearance ignited Internet speculation that perhaps he could return from a career-threatening eye injury and bolster the Canucks lineup for their Stanley Cup push, which moves into Round 3 Sunday against either the San Jose Sharks or Detroit Red Wings.
But a Canucks source said that as of today, Malhotra would not pass the NHL's vision test, meaning he would not meet the league's 20/400 minimum requirement. The same source said that Malhotra is still likely to undergo at least one more minor procedure on the injured left eye, and that even if he received medical clearance for a return, it would still be unlikely because he has gone almost two months between games, and would need time to get back into shape. Malhotra's recovery is trending in the top 5 per cent of people who suffer this particular injury, which means he is likely to return to the NHL at some point. But it is "extremely unlikely" to happen this spring, according to the source.
"We're very optimistic about Manny's recovery, we're taking it day-by-day and week-by-week," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said. "In all likelihood, he will require continued monitoring and perhaps more procedures along the way."