The Rangers should be careful with Igor Shesterkin

Worry about the big picture

On Saturday night, the Rangers failed to take advantage of a lowly Devils squad playing on the second night of back to backs.  These were two points the Blueshirts definitely needed, as they still have 3 points and 3 teams to overcome if their late-season playoff push is going to bear fruit.  Worth noting was that Igor Shesterkin was back in net after missing two weeks with a broken rib.  Predictably, he looked tentative and shaky.

I’m not a doctor, nor do I have any first-hand knowledge of Shesterkin’s physical condition.  However, from a purely optical perspective, it does seem to have the unfortunate appearance of an organization rushing back a star player before they were truly physically ready for game action.  I would implore the Rangers organization not to make this mistake.

In Shesterkin’s absence, both Alexandar Georgiev and Henrik Lundqvist struggled.   Lundqvist makes sense, since David Quinn has stapled him to the bench for weeks on end.  With the recent hot streak and renewed fan enthusiasm about a possible playoff push this season, trying to get Shesterkin back as soon as possible would make perfect sense.  The issue is bigger than that, though.

Shesterkin is one of the top 5 young goaltenders on the planet.  It is very possible he could be the proper heir to Lundqvist and man the Garden crease for the next decade. You don’t jeopardize that for a long shot run at a Wild Card spot.  If the kid is still hurt, let him heal.  You have two other talented goaltenders on the roster, see if they can carry you.  If so, you would have Shesterkin back for the playoff run. If not, who cares? This was a lost season anyway.

It’s not like this was the first year of proper contention that took a while to come together.  We are at least a year early.  Kreider is hurt, the left side of the defense is a bare cupboard and Kaapo Kakko is still acclimating the North American game.  There is no shame in missing out this season.  Obviously, you try to win and instill that winning culture, but in the same context as the trade deadline, you don’t jeopardize your future for a mediocre present.

Maybe I’m way off base here and Shesterkin was fully healthy, albeit a little bit rusty.  I hope that is the case, but this certainly wouldn’t be the first-time a pro sports team rushed a guy back to gain a little extra ground.  It’s been about the long-term process all along through this rebuild, with emphasis on making sure the pieces were in place.  I just hope the Rangers don’t get too cavalier with one of their biggest pieces for an extra few points in a long shot season.

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  • If he is truly healthy and not hurting, he could use the experience. If he has any signs of pain, issues breathing or any discomfort, he needs to rest.
    This is where the player needs to be honest to the staff.

    • While it may be likely over, the experience all these kids get by playing in meaningful games is also important. If he is in any kind of pain, he needs to sit, otherwise let him and the rest of the kids get meaningful minutes in playoff-atmosphere games.

      • Nothing like being pennywise and pound foolish. The team defense has collapsed again, let Georgie & Hank finish this season. The best scenario for the Rangers’ future lies in not making the playoffs.

        • We need players, not more draft picks. You turn Chytil, Gauthier, Kakko and yes even Igor into better players by playing in important games. Another pick is likely 2+ years away. In the NHL, make the playoffs and then anything can happen. Go for broke and then use it as a learning experience if you don’t make it. Igor could have months to heal then.

          • “We need players, not draft picks…”

            How does a team get worthwhile players, in most cases? Through the draft. Missing a first-round wipeout will be far more beneficial to these guys and to the team, there’s nothing to gain by getting crushed by Boston or Tampa.

            Rushing players back before they’re healthy is really stupid, both in the short and long-term. Since you appear to not understand the risks involved, Truth, I’ll state them here.

            Risking reinjury or compensatory-type injury by putting stress on areas surrounding the original injury is a huge concern. Shesty is 24; why make this injury into something potentially chronic? The Rangers have 2 other NHL starters on their roster in Georgie and Hank.

            How well will the Tsar handle being hit by opposing skaters? Why risk any of this kid’s future to get steamrolled in round 1?

          • And you know they would get steamrolled how?
            We have waited 2 long years for the playoffs. Getting another pick wont make us better next year, playoff experience will. We can turn into Edmonton if we follow your plan, draft, draft, draft. How has that worked over the past 5 years?

          • They will get steamrolled by Boston. This is indisputable. Boston is solid to excellent across the board in all facets of the game, arguably the most balanced team in the NHL. You might have an argument that Tampa could possibly lose to NYR based on last season, but that’s really unlikely unless Hedman is out long-term. Too much talent over there for NYR to handle.

            It seems that you’ve been suckered into believing the Rangers are good—they still aren’t quite there yet. Their defensive system is still horrendous, no team can win in the playoffs giving up 35+ shots a game in this day and age. Their offense is close to elite status, but that style of play rarely wins playoff series. Defense is what wins Cups.

            For all this talk of playoff experience, you forget that much of the Rangers’ roster has a good amount of it. Guys like Kreider, Panarin, Fast, Trouba, and Zibby have already been there and performed well. Being a first-round sacrificial lamb and losing a bunch of spots in a deep first round isn’t the best idea for this team’s future.

          • Tanking is your philosophy. Wait until next year is your philosophy. I don’t share it.

          • That’s fine. And my philosophy isn’t in favor of tanking, it’s in favor of not pushing injured players to return too quickly from injury to prop up a mediocre coach’s winning percentage. Understand the difference? It’s fairly significant.

          • I wouldn’t trust the player, they all want to play.
            im no doctor but it feels like the FO rushed him back.

  • If the player tells the medical staff that he feels comfortable playing and wants to get back in the lineup, and they can’t find any physical reason to keep him out of it, what are they supposed to do?

      • I realize that they COULD do that. My point was that we have no reason to take their judgement over that of the medical staff.

  • “Lowly Devil’s team”?…They didn’t look that low to me ..I watched them .beat the Caps
    and their record had been very good over the past 20 games. Good young talent on this team…I think they are better than the Asslanders..

  • I would not have rushed Igor for the sake of trying to make the playoffs…Igor was clearly not in the best of goalie shape and not ready to play. I would have started Hank, who has great numbers and seems to always be at his best when playing the NJ Swamp rats.

  • not for nothing, O highly doubt he was not 100000% healed, thats not even Quinn’s call by far. so lets put that nonsense to bed.

    If Igor rocked, Quinn’s the man, he played very good in practice so you go with your starter.

    come on… all this and that but its all chatter

    Igor is the starter. PERIOD.

    HAHAHA. yeah the club ignored the docs on this one and started a player whose not healed for this win, HA

    • Please. All hockey players play hurt all the freaking time. There is no way a broken rib was fully healed in less than 2 weeks. That is nonsense. The issue is whether they were smart to rush him back to play the Devils instead of using Henrik who owns them…

  • Georgie should start all the remaining games until they are either in or out of the playoffs.
    Igor should be resting and only play for hartford in the playoffs.
    I know this is silly, but in shots where you could see Igors eyes in the devils game he just did not seem super focused like we have seen him, he looked a bit shell shocked to be honest.

  • Shesty was rusty. Shesty played poorly. This may be because he sat for 2 weeks or it may be because he is hurting. I do not know why, but I doubt Gorton & Co. let the future franchise risk further injury by playing if he indeed was not 100%.

    Our playoff chances are thin with him, nil without him.

    • That is just not how hockey works. Multiple players play with injuries every single game. You can’t actually believe that the NHL teams ice 100% healthy rosters every game especially in March. They are playing through minor and not so minor injuries using pain meds and pain management, specialized gear, etc etc etc. Igor was probably using a Kevlar vest. Be real folks. M

  • “The Rangers should be careful with Igor Shesterkin”

    That ship has sailed already.

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