Some might argue that this was the most frustrating in Vancouver Canucks history.
Well, one thing is certain: this was certainly the most frustrating season of Tanner Pearson’s career.
The 31-year-old last played on November 9, 2022 against the Montreal Canadiens when he suffered a broken hand. He was originally supposed to be sidelined for four weeks, but hasn’t played since.
Pearson spoke to the media about his injury for the first time on Saturday, while wearing an open cast with a visible scar on the top of his hand, during the Canucks’ end of season media availability at Rogers Arena.
“It’s been a crappy year to say the least. I’m just taking it day by day, week by week, trying to progress,” Pearson said.
Pearson has reportedly undergone “six or seven surgeries” according to CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal.
When asked about skating with the team back in late November, when it looked like he was getting ready to return to the lineup, Pearson said he “ran through a speed bump” in terms of his injury.
A bizarre series of events followed.
Pearson’s injury went from a timeline of four weeks to season-ending. The team announced on January 12 that he would be shut down for the season after undergoing a second hand surgery. That led to an internal investigation by the Canucks. The NHLPA also got involved.
The concern around his injury escalated, at least publicly, when teammate Quinn Hughes told the media that Pearson’s injury “wasn’t handled right.”
“I’m not gonna share my personal opinion [on the injury],” Pearson said. “People that need to know, know what’s going on. And I’m going to keep it that way.
“Look, I’m just trying to get my hand back. I’m just trying to go home and be a dad and be with my kids and be able to play at the moment.
“So yeah, it sucks.”
Pearson also said he wasn’t surprised by Hughes’ public comments about his injury back in January.
“You love seeing a guy stick up for his teammates.”
Pearson still hopes to play for Canucks next season
Based on what Pearson has gone through, it’s fair to wonder if his NHL career might be in jeopardy. It was reported back in January that there’s no guarantee if he’ll play in 2023-24.
However, he did make it sound like he was going to try to play next season.
“I mean I’m still gonna approach this summer like I’m still a hockey player, and I have to, right? If not, when I come back, I’m way behind the eight ball. So it’s gonna be a really hard summer and I know that. I’m prepared for it. I’ve started to get back in the gym already. It’s actually nice to get moving again.”
“I’m going to try and be as positive as I can. You know, definitely there’s timelines in my mind that I would like to hit. And hopefully we do, it would make everything way better.
“But it’s still such a slow process that I don’t really have a specific time or date.”
Pearson also talked about how much he misses being away from the team.
“Coming to the rink every day, it’s all I’ve known for 15 years. It’s normal for me to come here with the guys and catch up after a long road trip.
“Although, you know, it’s not fun getting the group chat messages when they’re having fun and I’m at home. It’s been a battle.”
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