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Spezza skating with Senators' 'black aces'

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The Ottawa Sun reported Friday that the Ottawa Senators could have top-line center Jason Spezza back in the lineup at some point in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Senators general manager Bryan Murray told an Ottawa radio station Friday that Spezza is skating with the team's "black aces" -- scratched and extra players -- as part of his recovery from back surgery that kept him out for all but five games this season.

"He's skating much harder, competing much better and feeling much stronger," Murray told The Team 1200 AM on Friday. "Skating with the black aces is a more serious involvement for him. He's got to practice a few times with the team before Paul [MacLean, coach] thinks about making a change, but there's light at the end of the tunnel."

Senators goalie Craig Anderson told the Ottawa Sun, "He'd be a huge key to our middle of the ice. He's a No. 1 centerman that we've been missing all year. If he comes back, great; if not, we have to find a way to win without him."

Spezza last played Jan. 27 and had surgery to repair a herniated disc Feb. 1.

The Senators had Friday off after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 on Thursday to clinch their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in five games.

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