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Close to a full house at NYR practice

Martin Biron of the Rangers warms up to

Martin Biron of the Rangers warms up to play the Buffalo Sabres. (April 19, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

Unsigned RFA center Derek Stepan wasn't on the ice today; neither was Ryan Callahan, who has been at some of the voluntary skates over the past few weeks at the Madison Square Garden Training Center. And sophomore J.T. Miller was conspicuous in his absence---again.

But 27 players, including goaltender Martin Biron for the first time, spent 90 minutes practicing and scrimmaging, with training camp opening off-ice on Wednesday (physicals and testing. )

Stepan told me during the U.S. Olympic Team's orientation camp that he expected to be at the opening of camp, but cannot participate without a contract. The sides are apparently discussing still discussing terms of a two-year "bridge" contract, which Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather has offered.

The attendees: Forwards Rick Nash, Derick Brassard, Carl Hagelin, Taylor Pyatt, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Brad Richards, Derek Dorsett, Dom Moore, Brian Boyle, Carl Hagelin, Darroll Powe, Arron Asham, and AHLers Marek Hrivik and Ryan Bourque

On D: Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh, Justin Falk, Aaron Johnson, Anton Stralman, John Moore and AHLers Dylan McIlrath and Stu Bickel

Biron, who was testing the new shorter pads, joined Henrik Lundqvist in the nets. Biron said he had played with similar-sized pads (34 inches) in his first few years in the league. Today's were 34.9. 

Miller, 20, who played 26 games last season, the final ones with an injured wrist, is expected to be here by Wednesday.  Again, these workouts are voluntary, but I'm a little surprised that Miller, the team's No. 1 pick in 2011, hasn't been here earlier, especially with a new coaching staff to try to impress in camp.

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Final game in prospects tourney in Traverse City this afternoon vs. Wild. Team  is 0-1-2. C Oscar Lindberg has five goals; Danny Kristo has five points. That duo will get a long look in camp.

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