Canucks' Sami Salo close to return

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Vancouver Canucks defenseman Sami Salo is starting his comeback from a torn Achilles tendon with a conditioning stint in the AHL.

The Canucks sent him to the Manitoba Moose Friday.

Salo was injured playing floor hockey in his native Finland and had surgery in July. The 36-year-old resumed skating in December and is expected to play his first game Friday night for Manitoba.

He had 28 points in 68 games for the Canucks last season while manning the point on the top power-play unit and anchoring the penalty kill.

The 6-foot-3, 212-pound defender might not stay with Manitoba long. Vancouver lost top defenseman Alex Edler for eight to 12 weeks after he had back surgery Monday.

Salo has 273 points in 665 career NHL games.