Typically the CA stuff just redirects fresh air into the exhaust, and sends crankcase gasses into the combustion chamber/charcoal canister. As you said, some might be on, some might be off. Shouldn’t keep it from firing up though. If needed, I’m sure can delete most of it once you get it running. There should be some steel tubing that attaches just abouve the header. If you remove those, you’ll need to block the now open ports.
They are rubber, but over time they harden to the point of uselessness. I replaced them on my 99 and 93. Silicone lubricant can get in there sometimes, but generally not enough to help you. Try not to melt them though lol use a low setting or a hair dryer.
Sometimes, when I can’t get a good grip on the carbs I will block both wheels, straddle the bike, and work them front to back. That sometimes does the trick when they haven’t been off in a while. Once you get them off, or get new ones, it will be much easier.
The carbs may be surprisingly clean. Generally the slow jets are what get clogged, but they come out pretty easy and it’s a squirt or two to open the passageways.
Getting an entirely new used set of carbs can be just as easy, but you never know what you’re getting from the WWW.
I’ve dismantled mine on each bike a few dozen times, always clean up and run great.