Just having the third-year center on the ice was good news for the club after undergoing shoulder surgery in April.
"It feels good, it's nice to able to be on the ice skating with the guys right now," Nugent-Hopkins said after the Oilers first on-ice session of training camp. "I'm involved quite a bit, so it's good. There has been a lot of rehab and stuff, but it feels good so far."
Nugent-Hopkins is not expected to be ready by the first game of the regular season. Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said the first pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, probably would not be available until November.
BROOKLYN, NY --New York Islanders star John Tavares enjoyed quite a summer. Shortly after enjoying the first playoff action of his NHL career, the All-Star center was named a finalist for the Hart Memorial trophy as the League's most valuable player. He came up short in that contest, but was later invited to Team Canada's Olympic orientation camp in August.
But the greatest honor bestowed upon the 22-year-old this summer may have come shortly before training camp, when the Islanders named him the 14th captain in franchise history. The move, necessitated by former captain Mark Streit's signing with the Philadelphia Flyers, cast an even greater spotlight on the Islanders' franchise player. But Tavares made it clear as camp opened that he wasn't planning on changing his approach to the game just because he has a C stitched above his heart.
SAN JOSE -- Forward Adam Burish reported to training camp on Thursday with a healthy right hand and hopes of having a stronger second season with the San Jose Sharks.
Burish broke the hand last May in Game 4 against the Vancouver Canucks, when the Sharks completed a first-round sweep.
"All good. The hand's good," Burish said after his first training camp practice. "I feel great. Nothing to tell you about. It's all good. "I just kind of let it heal. I did a little bit of therapy with the hand. I did some hand therapy stuff. Other than that, I just kind of let it heal and tried to get some grip strength stuff back, but all good."
BOSTON -- A few weeks of skating on his own and a couple days participating in informal skates with his teammates couldn't tell Gregory Campbell if he was ready to go all-out in Boston Bruins training camp.
He had to just do it, and Thursday at TD Garden the veteran center was on his usual line with wings Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton during the team's second on-ice session of the afternoon.
Coach Claude Julien said the trio that's been a staple of the Bruins' lineup for three seasons looked solid as usual, but Campbell was a tougher critic as far as his own performance. It was the first time he took part in a formal NHL practice since he broke his leg in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final last season.
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."
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."
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."
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."
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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