Leighton had surgery on Oct. 11 to relieve a herniated disc and his timetable for return was 6 to 8 weeks. He was originally scheduled to return to practice on Nov. 20.
"It felt good just to get out there and get some shots," Leighton said. "My back's feeling good and I wanted to get out there and get some shots and work on some things. It's a matter of getting stronger and getting my game back."
Walker had hip surgery on Oct. 20 and was supposed to be out 10 to 12 weeks. It has been just 3 weeks. Walker said doctors didn't need to "do any bone work," so the prognosis is better than expected.
"It has been a while since I was out there," Walker said. "I think I felt better than I looked. I feel like I'm probably right on par for where I want to be, it will just take me a little while to get my legs on the ice."
James van Riemsdyk, a healthy scratch in the last two games, did extra skating with assistant coaches Joe Mullen and Kevin McCarthy, indicating he could remain scratched tonight . . . Carolina trounced the Edmonton Oilers, 7-1, on Tuesday night. Jeff Skinner, 18, leads Carolina and all rookies in scoring with 15 points.
"I think it will be cool, it's something different. Except for that last guy picked. He's going to be pretty lonely."
- Flyers forward Danny Briere, on the NHL's new All-Star Game format where captains will draft teams like a pickup game. *