Ryan McDonagh D NYR Oct 10 '12

Ryan McDonagh is still hopeful that he will back playing in the NHL this season, but that didn't stop him from heading out to join HC Barys Astana of the KHL on Tuesday night.

"I'm still optimistic that a deal will get done in a short amount of time," he said referring to the lockout. "Until then, if I can get a couple of games, or more, that will help me get much more ready. That's my whole mind-set, to give myself the best chance to improve individually so when I'm able to put a Rangers jersey back on, I'll be in the best shape possible." McDonagh had offers from other leagues, but he jumped on the first one he got from the Russian-based KHL. "This is now the best league out there and, from what I've learned, the best hockey to play against," he added. "It'll be a cool experience. But I have the right mind-set going over that things will work out [in the NHL]."

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