McIver back on blue-line

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

The curious case of Nathan McIver has reached its somewhat logical conclusion.

After clearing waivers yesterday, McIver found out that he was rejoining his former team, the Manitoba Moose, shortly after he was re-acquired by the Vancouver Canucks from the Anaheim Ducks in a deal for rugged forward Mike Brown.

A few eyebrows were raised when McIver wasn't re-claimed on waivers by the Canucks a day earlier, especially since they had first right of refusal.

However, all McIver is concerned about at this stage is getting back into action with the team that gave him a start in professional hockey.

"I've been keeping tabs on the guys. They have a great team and they should have a chance to win the Calder Cup this year," McIver said in a telephone interview from Des Moines, Iowa, where he was waiting to get on a plane bound for Winnipeg. "I can't wait to start playing again. The first few games back might be a little different, I'm not used to playing big minutes and I've only played two games since Christmas time. There will be a little bit of a learning curve, but I want to come back, I want to contribute and play big minutes on the team."

McIver spent three solid seasons with the Moose before he was claimed on waivers by the Ducks on Oct. 4.

Although he was limited to one assist in 18 games with the Ducks this season, McIver says he learned plenty from being around veteran guys like Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer and Brett Hedican.

"Those are three older guys that have all won Stanley Cups and all been successful in the NHL and all played over 1,000 games," said McIver, who has five goals, 16 points and 402 penalty minutes in 172 games with the Moose. "Just watching them on a daily basis, even though I wasn't playing, I learned a lot from those guys. Doing extra stuff every day after practice, I've improved my skating, my skills and my shot. Hopefully the stuff I've learned up there will help me when I come back here.

"I'm really thankful for the opportunity Anaheim gave me, picking me up out of training camp. They gave me a chance to play, but they've chosen to go in a different direction. It's time to move on and I'm looking forward to being back with the Manitoba Moose."

Moose head coach Scott Arniel expects McIver to bring plenty to the table upon his return.

"Obviously, we were excited to see Nate get an opportunity to play in the NHL when he was picked up by Anaheim," said Arniel. "It's great to have him back here, he's had a good history with us. He'll do anything for his teammates and he'll play hard all the time.

"It's hard to find a quality defenceman, it's the toughest position to play. He's a guy that's really popular in the dressing room, is a real good person and a real good teammate."

McIver, who turned 24 last month, will be in the Moose lineup tomorrow when the Moose face the Providence Bruins and Arniel isn't too worried about having to ease the blue-liner back into action.

"He's had enough practices and enough extra skating to last him the rest of the year," said Arniel. "It'll just be a matter of getting back into game shape and getting used to the pace of the game. It won't take very long. We'll get a feel for how he's doing and see how he reacts out there."

Brown, 22, had one assist in 20 games with the Canucks this season.

The gritty right-winger had 20 goals, 31 points and 534 penalty minutes during his three seasons with the Moose.


Videos

Photos