Canucks’ Pavol Demitra looks to make amends for woeful regular season

It has been the most forgettable of seasons for veteran Vancouver Canucks forward Pavol Demitra.

He was knocked out of last spring’s playoffs with a serious shoulder injury that required major surgery. He was unable to start on time in October, had a setback during rehab and needed a second surgery to set things right.
He missed the Canucks’ first 47 games and then missed another three before the Olympics due to an illness to wife Maria. Her illness, which was heart-related and extremely serious, flared up again in March and Demitra missed an additional four games.

His regular season was a virtual write-off. He made just 28 appearances and scored three goals. The Canucks paid him $4 million and he provided no dividend.

“It was a little rough,” conceded Demitra after practice Tuesday.

So if ever a player needed “the second season” to make amends, it is the 35-year-old Slovak. His performance at the Olympics, where he led the tournament in scoring, showed he still has game when the spirit moves him.

Now it’s time for him to move that spirit as a Canuck. Coach Alain Vigneault is dying to see the Olympic Demitra in a Vancouver uniform.

“I thought his intensity for his Slovakian team was, by far, the best I’d ever seen,” noted Vigneault. “I’m hoping to see that player come playoff time. As you know, Pavol is getting older and the opportunity to compete for the Cup … there might not be that many left for him.”

Demitra knows it, too. His contract is up and he might be out of the league next season. This could truly be his last hurrah, a last chance to repay Canuck GM Mike Gillis, his former agent, for the $8 million he has made the last two seasons.

Leave a Reply