Young goalie Canuck-bound?

ADAM WAZNY -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

Soon there will be another Moose in Lotusland.

Saturday night, around the same time Nolan Baumgartner was crashing into Vancouver goaltender Dan Cloutier, netminder Rob McVicar was watching Manitoba starter Wade Flaherty apply the finishing touches on a 4-0 shutout over Cleveland.

Tomorrow, McVicar will most likely be watching from the Canucks bench, dressing for the first NHL game of his young career.

"I don't know anything, to tell you the truth," McVicar said yesterday, unable to speak freely about the expected call-up. Despite reports in Vancouver, the Canucks or Moose have not made an official announcement yet because of salary cap concerns.

"Obviously, someone has to go up but as of right now, Flats and I have no idea what's going on."

Cloutier was injured during the play which resulted in the first Avalanche goal on Saturday. Andrew Brunette drove to the net as Baumgartner tried to cut him off, but the former Moose defenceman only got a piece of the winger and crashed into his goaltender.

Cloutier out with concussion

Diagnosed with a concussion, Cloutier must now wait seven days before he can resume playing, according to league regulations.

What this means is that McVicar will back up Alex Auld when the Canucks take on the Minnesota Wild tomorrow night.

"I knew that this would mean a possibility of going up," McVicar said when he heard of the incident in Denver.

Even though it's only November, it has been quite a season so far for McVicar, who is 2-1 with a 2.25 goals against average in three appearances.

With all signs pointing to the Moose starting with Flaherty and Brent Johnson in goal, it looked like the Brandon-native would be the odd-man out.

Johnson was plucked off the waiver wire though, giving McVicar an opportunity to stick in the AHL -- a goal he set for himself this past off-season.

"That's what I worked at all summer," the 23-year-old said. "I want to do well in this league (the AHL). It's early and I still feel like I have a lot to prove. If I do end up going up, I'll take it for what it's worth and I'll try to learn as much as I can."

McVicar was Vancouver's fifth choice (151st overall) in the 2002 Entry Draft.

If you're wondering why Flaherty, who has been excellent this young season (posting a 1.74 GAA and two shutouts), will not be joining the Canucks -- well, that situation is a little more complicated.

Because he makes more than $75,000 in the AHL, the veteran cannot be recalled by the parent team without clearing waivers first, and if a club puts a bid in for Flaherty, the Canucks would be on the hook for half of his NHL salary.

With money tight, the Vancouver organization can't risk losing another netminder in its already thin crease, making it much easier to give McVicar (who won't have to clear waivers) a chance with the big club.

Manitoba departs for San Antonio this morning, embarking on a seven-game road trip. It's expected the Moose will sign goaltender Robert Gherson to a 25-game professional tryout contract prior to Wednesday's game with the Rampage.

Starting this season with Columbia in the ECHL, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Toronto native played for the Quad City Mallards of the United Hockey League last season.


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