Malhotra, who is just 32 years old, would have years left in his career if there was a solution to this saddening injury. But with a series of surgeries and significant, unsuccessful recovery time in the books, the outlook for the two-way forward isn't good, which begs the question–if Malhotra never plays again, how will he be remembered?
Manny was strong defensively, and his greatest strength was in the faceoff circle. He was better known for making the strategic decision to retreat into his own zone than impress in the opposition's (although he did turn some heads with offensive ability now and again). Sadly in the NHL, and professional sports in general, those types of players aren't remembered as they should be. They may not make the highlight reel every night, but their smart play and hard work wins games.
But in addition to his defensive prowess, Malhotra was a leader, and leaders are remembered. He didn't score the goals, but he gave his teammates the confidence to do it themselves. He didn't drop the gloves, but gave others the passion to do so.
So when it comes to Manny Malhotra as a player, he might not be remembered as much as he should, but he will be remembered. And that's just as a player.
As the CBC article states, Mike Gillis has expressed his desire to keep Malhotra with the club at some capacity. Whether that is as a faceoff coach or an assistant coach has yet to be determined, but just because his playing days could be over does not mean his contributions need to be. As Gillis puts it, "We're gonna try and find ways here to make him contribute and, hopefully, it'll be an easy adjustment for him."
So when all is said and done, Malhotra will be remembered as a great leader in the NHL–that much we know. But whether that memory is in a blue sweater on the ice or a suit behind the bench has yet to be seen.
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