Didn’t write a story today, and since we’re still wrestling with this audio thing, here’s the notebook I put together after practice:
By Rick Carpiniello
GREENBURGH – As the Rangers’ only unsigned player, and as a restricted free agent, defenseman Michael Del Zotto’s leverage is limited.
And it’s probably going to get more limited as we get closer the opening of training camps on Sunday. Teams cannot sign players until the new CBA is ratified by the players, which is expected to happen by Saturday.
Del Zotto, 22, is coming off a solid bounce-back season, after a break-out rookie year and then a sophomore-slump year in which he spent periods in the AHL. His entry-level $875,000 per year contract expired July 1 and he was unable to sign during the lockout.
“I’m ready to play and we just want a deal that’s fair for both sides,” Del Zotto said. “This whole process has made me mentally tougher – just with the whole roller-coaster ride of the CBA negotiations itself. So I know something’s going to get done. Sooner t han later would be great. We’ve missed enough time as it is.”
NOTES: Marek Hrivik, considered one of the top candidates in the Rangers’ system to get a shot to make the team, is not skating with the team after suffering a concussion in the AHL. … The Rangers players hired NYU coach Chris Cosentino to run their informal practices until the team’s coaching staff is allowed to participate once the CBA is ratified and camps declared open. The coaches and front-office did watch the workout from a perch above the rink the last two days. … Still looks like opening night will be in Boston, 7 p.m., Jan. 19, with the possibility of a home opener the next night against Pittsburgh. Those are “moving targets” teams say. … Looks like Wade Redden will sit out this year since the new CBA will have his salary count against the cap, unlike the previous two years when he was in Hartford. Instead, they will likely make sure he doesn’t get hurt, which would then not allow them to buy him out in order to comply with the lower cap next year. The Rangers have enough room to fit Redden under the cap, but it could theoretically hurt their chance to add a player at the trade deadline.