Canucks defenseman Alex Edler will have micro discectomy surgery this coming Monday and is out of the Canucks line up indefinitely.
“After consultation with our physicians it was decided that surgery was the best course of action,” said Mike Gillis. “The best long term decision for Alex and our hockey club was to have the surgery immediately.”
Micro discectomy surgery removes an impingement on a nerve root in the lower back that causes the sufferer sharp pain.
At a press conference this morning, Mike Gillis offered no timetable for Edler’s return, hesitating to make any predictions.
“(Late regular season) would probably be the best case scenario,” said Gillis. “But once the doctors get in there and have a look around it might be a little different than they anticipated”.
The surgery is similar to the one Daniel Sedin had in May of 2001 which required a five month recovery period.
“If you’re comparing it to other back surgeries, it’s probably not as difficult Daniels a few years ago, it’s complicated and they won’t know as much until they get in there and have a look around to see how bad it is, but right now we are hopeful that it’s not as series as that.”
The timetable for Edler’s return will become clearer after 7-14 days after surgery.
With the absence of their top minute chewing defensemen, the Canucks depth at defense will be tested. Where some might see a negative, Mike Gillis sees an opportunity.
“I don’t think you replace him, I think you do things by committee like we’ve done for the rest of the year here, and I think it gives guys like Keith Ballard a chance to step up and play more minutes, which is a role he wants… but you know what? It also makes the group stronger, they have to pull together, and they have to do their part to continue this success”.
The Canuck’s are feeling the sting of the injury bug, but won’t rush the return of veteran defenseman Sami Salo.
“When Sami is cleared medically to play we have a plan for him he has been inching along he seems to have hit a plateau a week or so ago and now he is fighting through that,” said Gillis. “When you get to the last stages of this type of injury, incremental gains are more difficult”.
Mike Gillis also expects defensemen Aaron Rome and Andrew Alberts to return from injury in the coming weeks.
“Andrew is a little bit ahead of Aaron, but we are hoping to see them seven to ten days after the all-star break”.
Alex Edler leads Canucks defensemen in points (8-24-32) and ice time (24:23).
RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!
The Canucks players chanted ‘Rudy’ in the dressing room before Wednesday’s encounter with the Nashville Predators, comparing their new undersized teammate Lee Sweatt to the greatest underdog of them all, Rudy Reuttiger.
And, like Rudy, of Notre Dame Football lore, Bill Sweatt came through in the game’s dwindling moments, scoring his first NHL goal at the 12:31 mark of the third period.
“I was really surprised when it went in,” Sweatt said. “I looked at it and it was in the net. That’s why I had a delayed celebration. I just didn’t know what to do”.
Unlike the original Rudy, Sweatt wasn’t carried off the ice by his teammates, but everyone noticed the smiles on their faces.
“It was a pretty amusing moment,” said Coach Alain Vigneault. “And a pretty nice hockey moment."
The Canucks, aided by Sweatt’s game winning contribution, head into the all-star break in first place in the Western Conference, five points clear of the Detroit Red Wings.
Sweatt became the fifth Canuck this season to register a first career NHL goal, following Mario Bliznak, Alexandre Bolduc, Aaron Volpatti and Sergei Shirokov.