Man, hockey is back with a vengeance, people. Here are some things you should know about.
1) By today, every Ranger has made it to practice. Note that these practices are self-organized, as the coaches can't communicate with the players until the CBA is officially approved. But they're all skating together now. This includes, believe it or not, Matt Gilroy, who is back on a tryout. I'd like to see that work out. I'd also like to see his presence drive down Del Zotto's contract value - hearing he's asking for over $3 million for multiple years. Silly.
2) According to the Twitters, the Rangers have finally done away with the last vestiges of that awful Lady Liberty logo that my Dad likes for some reason - it was still on the practice jerseys, but it won't be anymore. Sorry, Dad, but I'm glad to see it go.
3) Still no answers on the Redden cap hit, but it's looking likely that yes, the Rangers will have to deal with that hit this season with no recourse. How much of it, though, I still don't understand. He's got a $5 million salary with a $6.5 million cap hit this season and next. Capgeek has his hit listed at $5.6 million, and I have no idea where that number comes from or how accurate it is. I'll look at the full cap situation in detail one day, if I can get accurate information ever.
4) On Sunday morning, at 6:49 AM (less than 2 hours after the informal agreement between Bettman and Fehr that effectively ended the lockout), apparently Henrik Lundqvist texted 10 other Rangers who were still in New York, inviting them out to practice. Only 2 (Del Zotto and Eminger) showed up, but still - this guy is really something.
5) What the hell, people? The Leafs fired Brian Burke today. Today. Not 6 months ago, not in a few months depending on how things go. Today. At the conclusion of his role in CBA negotiations, on the cusp of a shortened season in which I imagine Toronto is probably already scrambling to figure out a thing or two. I have a lot of trouble buying this. I like Burke, if not as much as some of my friends do, and there's no denying he's a powerful voice for hockey as a whole, if not necessarily the right answer for the Maple Leafs right now. But regardless, a firing right now doesn't make any sense to me at all. Related: where will Roberto Luongo be soon?