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Vancouver Canucks' alternate captain Manny Malhotra waves to the crowd during the presentation of the President's Trophy prior to an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday April 7, 2011. The trophy is awarded to the team that finishes in first place overall in the league. Malhotra underwent eye surgery after he was hit by a puck in March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

DARRYL DYCK

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.

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"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."

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About the Author
B.C. sports correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Matthew spearheads the Globe's sports coverage in B.C., and spends most of his time with the NHL Canucks and CFL Lions. He has worked for four dailies and TSN since graduating from Carleton University's School of Journalism a decade ago, and has covered the Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Grey Cups, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the NBA Finals. More

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