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Canucks’ Higgins (back) skates Friday

One day after tweaking his back during the morning skate and subsequently being kept out of the lineup Thursday evening against the Phoenix Coyotes, Canucks forward Chris Higgins was back skating Friday.

This is good news for the Canucks, a team dealing with numerous injuries and a possible suspension to one of its top blue liners.

With Higgins out of the lineup, defenseman Keith Ballard was moved up to the wing for Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Coyotes, while Andrew Gordon, recalled from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, was placed on the fourth line.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis told Team 1040 radio Friday morning that winger David Booth was set to have surgery on his left ankle Friday and could return for the playoffs.

Ryan Kesler is still out with a fractured bone in his foot and winger Zack Kassian re-aggravated an ailing back injury in a fight with Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

Canucks defenseman Alex Edler is scheduled to have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety, after he was given a major penalty for charging on a collision with Coyotes goalie Mike Smith behind the Phoenix net in the second period of Thursday’s game.



Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.