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McIver ready if needed

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver’s defensive rollercoaster took another sharp turn Monday night when the Canucks recalled Nathan McIver from the Manitoba Moose to possibly replace an ailing Alex Edler, who is suffering from back spasms.

Already without the services of sparkplug Kevin Bieksa and veteran Mattias Ohlund, the Canucks head into Tuesday night’s game against the New York Islanders still unsure if Edler can play.

The 21-year-old Swede left practice Monday morning, but after spending part of the afternoon with a chiropractor, he returned to practice Tuesday morning.

“ It’s never happened before, “ said Edler. “ But I think it was important that I got treatment right away. “

Since being recalled from the Manitoba Moose in mid-October, Edler has tallied nine points for the Canucks (2-7-9), alongside a team leading plus-17 rating in 34 games.

Edler’s steady presence will be missed on the blue-line tonight if he is unable to play, but McIver, a 6-foot-2, 205 pound native of Summerside, PEI, is confident he can be a contributor in Edler’s absence.

“ I’m looking to just do the same thing I do in Manitoba; I play good defensively and play physical and I’ll just try to play the same way I did here in pre-season, “ said McIver, who got into Vancouver late Monday night.

McIver made his NHL debut during the 2006-07 season, playing one game with the Canucks. The 23-year-old understands that the opportunity to impress on the big stage doesn’t arise everyday, so he’ll look to make the most of it if he does play.

“ I’ll come in here at 5 o’clock ready to play. I’m not sure what his status is; I come here as a game-time ready to go and if they need me it’s great, “ said McIver, Vancouver’s eighth round pick, 254th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

There’s never a good time to juggle the defensive pairings because of injury, but tonight may be an exception. The visiting Islanders have had even a tougher time than Vancouver finding the back of the net as the team has scored an Eastern Conference-low of 98 goals this season. So while the Canucks’ defence will still have to be sharp, it’s not like their facing the juggernaut offence of the Detroit Red Wings.

Coach Alain Vigneault took the side of optimism following his team’s optional morning skate, indicating that Edler may be alright to play.

“ He looks like he’s ready to go, “ said Vigneault. “ We’re going to keep Nathan around here anyway for insurance purposes, but after the morning skate Alex said he could go.

“ If Alex comes in tonight and is good then we won’t put [McIver] in warm-up. “

McIver has four points (2-2-4) and 65 penalty minutes in 28 games with the Moose this season.

  1 - Career game played with the Vancouver Canucks

  4 - Points this season for the Manitoba Moose (2-2-4)

8 - Round choice of the Canucks, 254th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft

69 - Penalty minutes this season

139 - Penalty minutes last season

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