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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 3:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Devils' Zajac focused on improving his game

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac would like to put last season in the rear-view mirror.

During the opening day of on-ice activity at the team's training camp at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Thursday, the 28-year-old had no choice as coach Peter DeBoer had him alongside two of the finest Czech players to ever lace on the blades in the NHL -- Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias.

"They certainly are creative," Zajac said. "I think when you're playing with those guys, it's about controlling the puck. They're going to make plays and get into the open, so as a center you have to find holes and create some space for them with your speed because they'll find those plays that not too many players can make."


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 3:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Flyers' Mason embraces undead with unique mask

PHILADELPHIA -- Christmas came early for Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason.

Mason received his new mask Thursday, a zombie-themed creation that features a number of Revolutionary War-era historical figures.

"I feel like a kid on Christmas morning," the goaltender said.

"I'm very impressed," Mason told NHL.com. "He [artist Franny Drummond] had sent me photos throughout the week so I knew what to expect, but when you see something in person for the first time, knowing the amount of hours Franny had put into the helmet, it's pretty impressive to see it in person."


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 3:20 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Soreness causes Jagr to leave Devils practice

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer will "err on the side of caution" with right wing Jaromir Jagr, who left the ice early in the second session during the opening day of training camp Thursday with general soreness.

"I'm not overly concerned about it, but because time is definitely on our side we'll err on the side of caution," DeBoer said following the on-ice activity at AmeriHealth Pavilion.

Jagr was not available to speak to the media after leaving during the early stages of his session. He was skating on a line with center Travis Zajac and left wing Patrik Elias.

"I think there are different types of soreness; it's a different level when you step out onto the ice and it's not the first time I've dealt with guys who had aches and pains on the first day," DeBoer said. "It's a long summer and especially with the older guys. It sometimes takes a little longer for the body to get used to things that quickly."

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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 2:14 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Flyers' Giroux reports progress in recovery

PHILADELPHIA -- Claude Giroux wasn't a full participant in the first-day, on-ice activities at Philadelphia Flyers training camp, but he continued to make progress in his recovery from surgery to repair two torn tendons in his right index finger.

Giroux sustained the injury during a golf outing Aug. 15 and had surgery that day to repair the damage. The Flyers announced he would need five to six weeks of time to recover, but Thursday he was able to move the puck around more than he thought he would.

"It felt better than I thought," he said. "I wasn't too sure what I would be able to do. I was handling the puck and it was feeling good. I started passing it and it felt pretty good, and it still feels good."


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 1:28 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Flyers not surprised Cleary staying with Red Wings

PHILADELPHIA -- Daniel Cleary had an invitation in hand from the Philadelphia Flyers to attend their training camp, but instead he'll be staying in a place he never wanted to leave.

Cleary on Thursday signed a one-year contract to remain with the Detroit Red Wings. Terms of the deal were not released, but the Detroit Free Press reported the value to be $1.75 million.

"We think we're a better team with [Cleary]," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told MLive.com. "He's versatile on the wing, he's good in the locker room. In the end, he flew up [Wednesday] to meet with [coach Mike Babcock] and I at the airport [in Traverse City, Mich.] and his message was he wanted to be a Red Wing and he wanted to work with us."


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Islanders impressed by Barclays Center

BROOKLYN -- It won't technically be their home until the 2015-16 season, but after enjoying the first skate of their 2013-14 training camp at Barclays Center, the New York Islanders' players were impressed by what they saw from the new state-of-the-art facility, which will host the first-ever NHL game in Brooklyn when the Islanders play the New Jersey Devils in a preseason contest Sept. 21.

The Islanders take part in their first practice at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Islanders take part in their first practice
at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
(Click to enlarge)

"It definitely feels really new. It will be an adjustment to make it feel comfortable and make it feel right at home. But it's a beautiful place," said captain John Tavares, who wasn't sure what the energy would be like for the upcoming preseason game. "I think it will feel like a neutral-site game, because the Coliseum is our home for a couple more years and we don't have a locker room here yet. But it will be nice to play the game for sure and get a feeling of what it will be like."

The team took a train together to the arena along the Long Island Railroad and seemed impressed by the amenities the new building offered. Holding 15,813 fans at full capacity, the building also features a new 32-foot-by-15-foot scoreboard that is among the biggest in North American arenas. And there will be even more awaiting the Islanders when they move into Barclays in 2015, as the arena is adding a new 11,000-square-foot campus offering full amenities for players and staff.

"It's great. We didn't really know what to expect. I hadn't seen the rink yet. I was looking forward to getting down here and seeing it. You can tell it's going to be a great atmosphere," forward Josh Bailey said. "The seats are right on top of you. It makes for a heck of an atmosphere. The fans are going to love it and the players are going to love playing here."

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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 1:20 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Clutterbuck excited to find his place with Islanders

BROOKLYN -- Following his first time out on the ice as a member of the New York Islanders, right wing Cal Clutterbuck admitted that he was still getting to know most of his new teammates.

Taking a train on the Long Island Railroad to Barclays Center, which will host the team's Sept. 21 preseason game against the New Jersey Devils, gave him a unique chance to grow better acquainted with the team. But the 25-year-old, who spent his first five NHL seasons with the Minnesota Wild, said he was still getting used to being an Islander.

"It's a long way from St. Paul, Minnesota, that's for sure," Clutterbuck said. "Getting on a train and coming down to the station with that many people. You don't see that many people in an entire week down in Minnesota. It's a little different, but there's definitely some nervous energy when you get out there the first day. You get used to one thing for five or six years and then it's a lot different when it changes."


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 1:16 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Panthers prospect Bjugstad sidelined by concussion

CORAL SPRINGS -- Florida Panthers rookie center Nick Bjugstad missed the first practice of training camp because of a concussion.

Coach Kevin Dineen said Bjugstad was injured in the last game of the Panthers prospect tournament last weekend.

"Nick has been diagnosed with a concussion that started at rookie camp and he's going through the NHL concussion protocol right now," Dineen said. "It happened a little bit toward the end of the third game and he was feeling good. Unfortunately, that's the sport. He's under care by our medical staff and it's a daily evaluation. That's where he's at."


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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 1:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Devils' Boucher hopes to follow in Henrique’s skates

NEWARK, N.J. -- At the time New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique was given a full-time shot in the NHL two seasons ago, he was coming off his most productive season as a professional in the American Hockey League.

Henrique, who led the Albany Devils with 25 goals and 50 points, seemed like the logical choice when Travis Zajac sustained an Achilles tendon injury that forced him to miss much of the season. The 2008 third-round draft pick (No. 82) would ultimately make the most of the situation, finishing as a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 2011-12.

The loss of wings David Clarkson (free agency) and Ilya Kovalchuk (retirement) in a span of seven days in July has presented the Devils with some tough choices entering the 2013-14 campaign. The team added forwards Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, Ryane Clowe and Rostislav Olesz during free agency to help alleviate the offensive burden, but there's also a strong possibility that one or more of the organization's top prospects will spend considerable time with the big club as well.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 12:51 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Lupul, Orr among four Leafs missing from practice

The Toronto Maple Leafs took the ice for the second day of training camp without four of their players. Right wing Colton Orr is out with a leg bone bruise and won't skate for a week. Left wing Joffrey Lupul is day-to-day with back spasms.

Traded to the Leafs from the Anaheim Ducks in February 2011, Lupul missed nearly two months last season with a fractured forearm sustained just three games into 2012-13. Orr signed a four-year, $4 million contract with Toronto in 2009.

Coach Randy Carlyle said that Lupul experienced tightness on Tuesday and wasn't cleared medically to be on the ice, but doesn't believe the injury is serious.

"He's had some back issues before, so we don't think it's anything longterm," Carlyle said. "It's just precautionary measures to make sure he's 100 percent. Same thing with Colton Orr."

Prospects Kenny Ryan and Matt Finn, who sustained a shoulder injury at rookie camp, also were not on the skate list.

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic