It was something out of a family film where the parent is impatiently waiting for their child to comply.
During a stoppage in play with 41 seconds left in overtime, Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin skated from his crease to argue with a team trainer that was sent out by a concussion spotter to pull him from the game. The star netminder had just taken a hit to the head after a collision with Boston Bruins forward Craig Smith in a 1-1 game that was destined for a shootout. But out of an abundance of caution, there was a need to check for his well-being.
As Shesterkin gesticulated toward Jim Ramsay, the trainer patiently stood by the crease with his hands on his hips waiting for the goalie to calm down. After being approached and a quick debate, he ushered Shesterkin off the ice while the malcontent star slammed his stick into the boards on his way to the locker room.
“Honestly, I did lose control when I got sent off,” Shesterkin said after the game. “You saw me hitting the boards with my stick. That won’t happen again, I promise.”
Backup Alexandar Georgiev was sent in to see out the remaining 41 seconds — an anxiety-riddled ending considering the goalie was ice-cold coming off the bench — only for Shesterkin to return for the shootout.
After making 31 saves in regulation, Shesterkin proceeded to stop seven of nine Bruins shootout attempts to help clinch a Rangers victory in their first game back in two weeks — improving them to 31-13-4 on the season.
“When I came [back] out, the stands just gave me so much energy that I couldn’t do anything else but save the game,” Shesterkin said.
His stay in the locker room was a short one as he hastily filled out a questionnaire to prove that he was ready to get back on the ice.
“I don’t really understand the whole point of that protocol,” Shesterkin said. “There are 40 seconds left in overtime. Let me finish the play and then you can do whatever protocol you feel is necessary.”
Had it not been for Shesterkin, the Rangers could have suffered a much different fate on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. With an abundance of rust prevalent, they were outplayed for large portions of the game — including an opening stretch in which they didn’t record a shot on goal for the first 12 minutes of the game.
“I didn’t know him until training camp. He likes to compete and battle, he works hard in practice every day,” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said of Shesterkin. “That’s the character of the guy.”