Vancouver Canucks’ Manny Malhotra could be a lockout casualty
Forward’s final year on contract at risk of being wiped out by season-long stoppage
In a worst-case scenario, where there is no NHL season, could Vancouver Canuck centre Manny Malhotra become a casualty?
Malhotra doesn’t have a contract beyond this year and he’ll be 33 in May. Following the last lockout, a total of 121 players who appeared in 40 or more games during the 2003-04 season never appeared in another NHL game when play resumed in 2005-06. Malhotra had 18 points and was minus-11 in 2011-12, a season hampered by his gruesome eye injury of March 2011.
“I haven’t looked that far down the road,” Malhotra said Tuesday following another lockout skate with the UBC Thunderbirds. “I remain optimistic that something will get done and we will have some sort of season.”
Malhotra’s optimism seems rooted in his conviction the NHL will end the lockout on its own timetable no matter what the players offer unless, of course, they completely capitulate.
“It’s pretty evident to us they’re on their own agenda and this is going to end when they feel it’s going to end,” said Malhotra, a member of the players bargaining committee. “It’s frustrating and sad, really, that running a $3.3-billion industry they only have one idea and one tactic as to how to get a deal done.”
Malhotra scoffed at a comment made Monday by deputy commissioner Bill Daly, one in which Daly said it’s clear to the league that if the players “wanted” a long lockout, they certainly have been “successful in creating an environment” to achieve one.
“We see right through it,” Malhotra responded. “They realize they’ve got some incredibly bad press over this and they’re feeling pressure from the fans knowing they are at fault for creating this lockout, they are at fault for locking us out and they are at fault for taking hockey away from everybody. They’re just trying to spin it in their favour and trying to make themselves look like the good guys.”
Meanwhile, forward Jannik Hansen has signed with Tappara of the Finnish Elite League and is scheduled to play his first game on Thursday. He is only the second Canuck to suit up for a European club. Fourth-liner Dale Weise is in the Dutch League.
The announcement, on Tappara’s website, looked like this (via Google translator): “Tappara acquired another NHL player. Danish Vancouver Canuck Jannik Hansen … comes to Tampere today.”
Hansen told CKWX radio that it was just a matter of getting in some game action and that Tappara will cover his insurance. “It’s a good league and I get a chance to play some hockey, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
It appears Tappara, which is based in Tampere, could use some help as it sits 11th in the 14-team league.
Hansen, 26, was scheduled to make $1.35 million with the Canucks this season. He had 16 goals and 39 points in 2011-12 and was plus-18.
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