Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Rangers Back On Ice For Voluntary Skate, Del Zotto Still Awaiting New Deal

Rick Nash at today's workout at the Rangers' practice facility (courtesy of NYR Twitter).

They're back on the ice! The Rangers officially returned to the Madison Square Garden Training Facility today for a voluntary skate, which is legal now that a tentative CBA agreement has been reached.

The players who were on the ice were Brad Richards, Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Arron Asham, Derek Stepan, Mike Rupp, Ryan Callahan, Rick Nash, Taylor Pyatt, Jeff Halpern, Michael Del Zotto, Carl Hagelin and Steve Eminger. John Tortorella was also in attendance, but currently isn't allowed to skate with the team until the CBA is officially ratified.

Speaking of ratifying the new CBA, that apparently could happen by Friday with training camps officially opening as soon as Saturday. The NHL's board of governors will meet in New York on Wednesday to vote and the players will vote electronically on Thursday and Friday. The season is currently scheduled to be 48 games long and begin on Jan. 19.
Moving on, here are some notes from today's skate session:

- Marian Gaborik is returning to New York after being in Slovakia during the lockout and John Tortorella said that he is completely healed from shoulder surgery that repaired a torn labrum after last season. Gaborik will have no restrictions once training camp opens, which is fantastic news.

- Rick Nash said he has completely recovered from a groin strain he suffered a few months ago while playing overseas in Switzerland.

- Carl Hagelin has also fully recovered from a shoulder surgery he suffered back in November and is now said to be 100-percent healthy.

- Even though Michael Del Zotto participated in today's voluntary skate, he's still a restricted free agent without a contract. Del Zotto said his agent restarted talks on a new contract today with GM Glen Sather in hopes of quickly reaching a deal. Del Zotto wouldn't speculate on how quickly a deal could be reached, but it would certainly benefit him to sign as quickly as possible. I can't imagine how agitated John Tortorella would be if Del Zotto were to really hold out of training camp after all this.

- Speaking of Tortorella, the Rangers' head coach said that he and his coaching staff already in place on how to approach training camp with an abbreviated 48-game season. Torts also stunningly showed a gentle side when he admitted to actually missing his team. “Quite honestly, I miss them," he said. "I’m anxious to get back with them and get to work.”

- Brad Richards posted the following message for Rangers fans on his official website:

I wanted to take a minute to personally thank all of you for your patience during the last few months of negotiations.
As a player and a fan of this game, I couldn’t be happier to have hockey back. Your ongoing support and encouragement throughout the lockout has been incredible and has helped us prepared to get on the ice and play some games. I am looking forward to playing in front of all of you again, connecting with my Ranger’s family and seeing and hearing all the fans at The Garden! We will work hard to make 2013 OUR season, and reaching the ultimate goal…bringing The Cup back to New York.
Stay tuned to brichards19.com for exclusives and updates throughout the season. See you all soon! Lets go Rangers!!!
Awesome message from Richards that will certainly get any Rangers fan fired up after reading it. Gotta love the leadership and winning attitude he has brought to this organization. I like the Richards signing more and more everyday.