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After 9-game road trip, Devils open new arena

| Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007

NEWARK, N.J. -- After nine games on the road to start the season -- and more than 10 years of on-again, off-again plans before that -- the New Jersey Devils finally opened their new arena Saturday night.

Ottawa's Andrej Meszaros scored the first goal in the $380 million Prudential Center, nicknamed "The Rock" after the insurance giant's logo.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman joined Devils chairman and owner Jeff Vanderbeek, Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker and former Devils star Scott Stevens for a pregame ceremony at center ice.

Talking to reporters later, Bettman called it "a truly spectacular arena" and then took a dig at the Devils' former home at the Meadowlands, calling it "a building with no soul that was in the middle of a parking lot."

With the new building not projected to be ready for the start of the NHL season, the Devils had to schedule their first nine games on the road, where they lost six, three by shutout.

Bruins' Bergeron taken off on stretcher

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was taken from the ice on a stretcher yesterday against Philadelphia after losing consciousness when he was hammered into the boards face-first by defenseman Randy Jones, the third high-profile violent play this season involving a Flyers player.

Bergeron was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital and was diagnosed with a broken nose and a concussion by Bruins team physician Dr. Bertram Zarins.

Tests didn't show any other serious injuries to Bergeron's head or neck, and he was awake and able to move all his limbs, Zarins said.

Medical personnel cut away Bergeron's jersey and shoulder pads as they worked on him, placing his neck in a brace. They placed him on a board and then onto a stretcher, his legs taped together and his arms folded across his chest. There was little sign of movement. The game was delayed some 15 minutes with 3:53 left in the first period.

Capitals re-sign Semin

Alexander Semin signed a two-year, $9.2 million contract extension with the Washington Capitals yesterday.

The extension, which begins next season, rewards Semin for his productivity since returning from his NHL hiatus in Russia. The 23-year-old right wing set career highs in goals (38) and assists (35) last season with the Capitals.

Semin, selected in the first round of the 2002 draft, signed a three-year deal with the Capitals in 2003 but returned to his native Russia in 2004 even though he was still under contract to Washington. The Capitals went to court to get him back, and the spat was resolved when he agreed to a new two-year deal in 2006.

Wild goalie injured

Minnesota's starting goalie Niklas Backstrom suffered a groin injury in practice yesterday and the Wild recalled goaltender Nolan Schaefer from the Houston Aeros, their AHL affiliate.

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