Canucks' Quinn Hughes says Tanner Pearson's season-ending injury 'wasn't handled properly'

Pearson underwent a second operation on his hand since November, ruling him out for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign.

Quinn Hughes was not happy to hear that Vancouver Canucks teammate Tanner Pearson would miss the rest of the 2022-23 season after undergoing his second surgery of the year. (Getty Images)

A Vancouver Canucks player’s injury has ended his 2022-23 season and one of his teammates isn’t happy about how it was handled.

Tanner Pearson had his season ended by undergoing a second surgery on his hand since November, the team announced Thursday before they faced the Tampa Bay Lightning. After the eventual 5-4 loss, star defenseman Quinn Hughes was asked how the locker room reacted to the news, and he was rather blunt with his answer.

“I feel bad for him. I mean, it wasn’t handled properly and you know, it’s not really a good situation he’s got there and hopefully he’s going to be alright,” Hughes said via The Province.

The Canucks have begun an internal investigation into how the injury was handled, per Sportsnet's Iain MacIntyre.

Pearson has not appeared in a game since Nov. 9 in Montreal, the game where he first injured his hand and went under the knife the next day. Initially, the 30-year-old forward was expected to miss just four to six weeks, but a month into recovery and it was not going according to plan. A second operation was needed and now his season is over.

It is no doubt a difficult task to try and be comfortable with ending your season having played just 14 games and scoring five points, especially after the initial injury was going to cause a six-week absence at the most.

When asked if the team should've done something differently when it came to Pearson’s injury, Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau said, “I have no idea, that’s not my call.”

“I really like Tanner a lot and so it really is sad news," he said. "Here’s a guy, he’s over 30 and you lose a year? It’s really tough and I feel for him. But I know he’ll come back stronger than ever.”

Pearson is signed through next season at a cap hit of $3.25-million, so at least he will not hit the market as an unrestricted free agent trying to prove to teams that his hand is healthy.

This drama over a depth scorer’s season-ending injury is just the latest story surrounding the Canucks this season. Boudreau is on an expiring contract and there are talks about a coaching change; defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who has four more years of an eight-year, $66-million contract left, was made a healthy scratch on Thursday; after signing an eight-year deal himself, J.T. Miller’s production has dried up; and despite being one of the NHL’s worst teams, management and ownership refuse to rebuild.

That is just a taste of what is going on in Vancouver.

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