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Alone at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Jaroma Iginla skated for 20 minutes early Thursday and considered it a good first step.

The Calgary Flames captain has missed all but 20 minutes of training camp after experiencing back spasms on opening day. He had been resting and riding a stationary bike before returning to the ice Thursday for a light skate.

"It felt good today," he told reporters before the Flames' team skate. "Just getting ready for opening night [Oct. 8 against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins] We all want to be out there on the ice. We all want to be playing. I'd rather have this now than during the season. I looked at it as a blessing."

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Iginla, 34, said his injury has been described to him as being similar to a sprain and that it requires rest and treatment.

"The way sports are, the way training is, you can hurt your back with any injury. I do feel I was pretty fortunate with the timing."

Iginla acknowledged his teammates have been giving him the gears, saying his back woes are because he's so old now. Defernceman Mark Giordano joked that the players were thinking of getting Iginla a cane.

"I'm not the oldest guy on the team. I hope one day to be the oldest guy," Iginla said.

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Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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