Eric Staal (lower body) out a little under a week

The Carolina Hurricanes – and maybe Team Canada’s decision makers – held their breath on Saturday, as Eric Staal left an eventual win against the New York Islanders with a lower-body injury. They can exhale on Sunday, as head coach Kirk Muller said that Staal will only be out five-to-six days, the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander reports.

One would assume that Muller gave that estimate regarding the team’s 29-year-old captain because the Hurricanes have games on Thursday (Jan. 9) and Friday (Jan. 10).

Again, it might not be the Hurricanes alone who are interested in this update. If Staal is on the bubble for Team Canada, a more significant issue could conceivably push him out of the picture. Instead, it sounds like it will come down to whether or not GM Steve Yzerman & Co. believe that he should make the cut.

Staal’s Hurricanes are facing the Nashville Predators on Sunday.

Update: Carolina seemingly dodged a bullet in that Predators game, as Jeff Skinner returned to action despite taking a puck to the face.

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.