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Henrik Lundqvist offers dose of reality

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist speaks with

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist speaks with the media after practice at the MSG facility in Greenburgh. (Jan. 8, 2013) Credit: Richard Harbus

You know why Rangers fans---and the media---appreciate Henrik Lundqvist? No, not just because he's a perennial Vezina Trophy candidate---and winner, last season. He's as straightforward and pleasant as possible given the spotlight on him. 

Today, he offered a dose of reality on the start of the season.

After a hour-plus skate with about 16 teammates. Lundqvist, sitting at his locker, was candid, saying he doesn't expect to be 100 percent sharp for opening night and maybe longer,  wishes there were one or two exhibition games, and isn't sure if his seven-season streak of winning 30 or more games will continue or how many games he will share with Martin Biron.

He thinks players who were in Europe will have an edge early, but doesn't  regret not playing in Sweden with his hometown team,  because he never knew when the NHL season would begin.

No BS.

Refreshing after covering the lockout.

For all of Lundqvist's thoughts see Newsday. com later and, of course,  the paper tomorrow.

***

On Michael Del Zotto and Wade Redden:

Del Zotto had no specific update, but said he believes a deal will be done. I do as well, and have been saying so...

As for Redden, well, Rangers management was meeting today with representatives for the 35-year-old defenseman, who spent the last two seasons with the AHL’s Connecticut Whale, to determine a course of action. If he is waived again before opening night and not claimed, Redden’s cap hit of $5.6 million would be included in the cap. Under the new CBA, contracts over $900,000 can no longer be “buried” in the minors.  A buyout of his final season in his six-year deal couldn’t occur until June.  

***

Hearing again today, as I wrote last night, that camps will open Sunday and 48-game season begins on the 19th.  NHL has presser tomorrow in NYC following Board of Govs meeting, where CBA will be ratified. Still waiting on players vote, which starts Thursday, and when that ends, camps can open next day and schedules released. Again, looks like each team will play four or five games against division teams and three each against rest of conference teams, which was the option I wrote about yesterday. .

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