FORMER NHL forward Matthew Barnaby was fired by ESPN as the cable network's hockey analyst yesterday, a day after being charged with drunken driving for being found behind the wheel of an SUV that was missing its front tire.

In an email sent to the Associated Press, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz wrote the network informed Barnaby that his contract was terminated "effective immediately."

The decision was made a day after Erie County sheriff's office said Barnaby was driving a Porsche Cayenne with front-end damage and a sparking rim in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence, where he lives. Barnaby was arrested after failing field sobriety tests and refusing a breath test.

The 38-year-old had his license revoked and was given tickets to appear in Clarence Town Court. His lawyer did not return messages seeking comment.

Barnaby broke into the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres during the 1992-93 season. He played for seven teams over 13-plus NHL seasons, earning a reputation as a pesky agitator during a career in which he finished with 113 goals and 300 points. He also had 2,562 penalty minutes in 834 games.

He retired in 2007 because of a concussion sustained during a fight. He joined ESPN as a studio analyst in 2008.

This is Barnaby's second run-in with the law this year.

In July, he was ordered to complete 500 hours of community service to have charges dropped stemming from an argument he had with his estranged wife in May. Barnaby was accused of causing about $300 damage by kicking a garage door in an attempt to enter a home where his wife and two children live in suburban Buffalo.

Noteworthy * 

Vancouver Canucks forward Chris Higgins will miss tonight's game against the Colorado Avalanche because of a staph infection in his foot. The Canucks recalled Viktor Oreskovich from Chicago of the AHL to take Higgins' spot in the lineup.

* New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain ailment related to Alzheimer's disease that is caused by repeated blows to the head, the New York Times reported.

The 28-year-old Boogaard, who died in May of an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone, was found to have had CTE - which can be diagnosed only after the death of the patient, according to the third story of an extensive three-part series on Boogaard posted on the newspaper's website.

In last night's games * 

At New York, Phil Kessel had two assists to add to his league-leading point total of 34, and the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped the New York Rangers' five-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory.

* At Pittsburgh, Gregory Campbell, Benoit Pouliot and Tyler Seguin scored, Tim Thomas stopped 44 shots, and the surging Boston Bruins defeated the Penguins, 3-1, to improve to 14-0-1 in their last 15 games.

* At Sunrise, Fla., Stephen Weiss scored two goals to lead the Florida Panthers to a 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals, who have lost five straight road games and nine of 12 overall.

* At Ottawa, Zack Smith scored twice as the Senators extended Tampa Bay's losing streak to four games with a 4-2 win over the Lightning.

* At Chicago, Radim Vrbata scored a goal in the first period, and another in the shootout, to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks.