Joe Yerdon

Clowe (charley horse) returns to Devils practice

Ryane Clowe’s start with the New Jersey Devils has already seen him battling injuries.

He was banged up with a charley horse Thursday night in a game against the Islanders and missed practice the last two days.

After a season that saw him overcome concussion problems with the Sharks and Rangers, Devils fans can breathe a little easier as he returned to practice today as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice reports.

Clowe skated with Patrik Elias and tryout candidate Damien Brunner. One guy who hasn’t returned to action is Jaromir Jagr as he’s still out with a lower body injury.

The Devils will find a way to replace Ilya Kovalchuk’s offense this season, it just might require bandages and glue at times.

Oilers’ Gagner out indefinitely with broken jaw

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The Edmonton Oilers were already facing depth issues at center and now they’re about to be tested even further.

The team announce forward Sam Gagner would be out indefinitely with a broken jaw suffered in last night’s preseason win over Vancouver. Gagner was high-sticked in the second period, left the game and did not return.

It was reported he lost some teeth courtesy of the stick of Zack Kassian, but things have gotten a bit worse now.

The Oilers were set to start the season with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as he’s recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. They’ve been playing Taylor Hall at center to take his place for the time being, but losing Gagner means they’re now without their top two pivots.

With the Oilers hoping to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006, this season is not getting started at all the way they hoped.

Bergeron ‘felt pretty good’ after first preseason game

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Patrice Bergeron’s return to action last night went without a hitch. After suffering a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a shoulder injury during the Stanley Cup Final his summer of recovery was arduous.

After helping Boston take out Detroit 2-0 in a preseason affair, he says he’s feeling good. Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com has the story.

“It felt pretty good. I was able to battle in the corners and in front of the net. That was my biggest question: reaching and stretching out for pucks, and battling other guys,” said Bergeron. “But overall I felt good, and I’m pretty happy with it. Now it’s in the past and I can start looking forward.”

Looking forward is key for this Bruins team after all the changes they went through on top of Bergeron’s punishment in the Final.

As for his game, he played 16:05 in his first action back with no points but the key part as far as Boston cares was seeing him back on the ice in action.

Stepan and Rangers about $600,000 apart on a contract

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The New York Rangers and restricted free agent Derek Stepan still haven’t gotten a new deal worked out. With the Rangers season starting October 3 in Phoenix, time is running short to get him into camp and prepared for the year.

The crazy part here is the two sides aren’t far apart in getting a deal done.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post opines that both sides are losing in these negotiations if they continue to drag, especially when their money demands are close.

Brooks says Stepan is seeking a two-year bridge deal worth $7 million while the Rangers and GM Glen Sather have offered him a two-year deal at just under $6 million but are willing to go to $6.4 million.

A difference of $600,000 separating the two sides from getting a deal done seems like a foolish amount to squabble over, but here we are.

The Rangers have talked about how they’ve liked Brian Boyle’s play so far in camp and Derick Brassard and Brad Richards have looked stronger, but Stepan is their No. 1 center no matter what.

If the Rangers want to keep pushing Stepan into a corner to get a contract done their way, they might be looking at even tougher negotiations in two years when his next deal ends.

Islanders’ Brooklyn debut gets mixed reviews

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Last night saw Barclays Center in Brooklyn get its first shot at hosting hockey as the Islanders faced the New Jersey Devils. While the Islanders came away as 3-0 losers, it was the arena being judged the hardest and the reviews are mixed as Allan Kreda of The New York Times reports.

Coaches and players seemed to love Barclays Center. Isles coach Jack Capuano praised the atmosphere. Travis Hamonic also had a rave review.

“It’s an unbelievably cool place,” he said. “It makes you look forward to being here. I thought the rink was great.”

As for the fans, the people who will have to pay hundreds of dollars for tickets, there were some complaints.

“You get the creature comforts of a new arena, but I was unimpressed with the spectator area,” 23-year-old Megan Leach said. “There were a lot of terrible sight lines.”

When the New York Islanders announced they would be moving to Brooklyn in 2015, fans were curious how a building constructed without hockey in mind, Barclays Center, would work out. Now they have an idea what needs to be worked out before the team is there full-time.

Related: Video: Devils’ Jacob Josefson scores first goal in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center