GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Kevin Shattenkirk signed with his boyhood dream team for a discount, taking $26.6 million spread over four years from the Rangers. He badly wanted to make a good first impression.
But it has been an uneven season for the 28-year-old defenseman and power-play quarterback from New Rochelle. One big reason now seems apparent.
Shattenkirk said Friday that he has been playing with a meniscus tear in his left knee since the start of the season. After speaking with the medical staff Thursday, he decided it was time to repair it, so he will have surgery Monday. He’s out indefinitely, but he said this won’t end his season.
“It’s tough,” Shattenkirk said. “Thinking about this year, you want everything to go perfectly. I think I’ve been trying to battle through this for a lot of reasons . . . You have to think about yourself . . . I’ve been worried about more things, trying not to disappoint a lot of people, me included in that.
“It’s never easy to be sidelined . . . But I also feel like what I was putting out on the ice, I wasn’t giving the guys on my team the best I had. That almost makes you feel even worse.”
Shattenkirk has five goals and 18 assists in 46 games and is a team-worst minus-14.
The knee began bothering him late in the preseason. He was given a cortisone injection, which helped before wearing off after about eight to 10 weeks, and a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection last week.
“It’s been painful,” Shattenkirk said. “The training staff here has done a tremendous job of helping me manage the pain.
“The ‘X’ factor is that it limits me off the ice as far as training . . . I feel like because of it, my left leg is starting to get a lot weaker and not allowing me to play my game and have the escapability and the explosiveness in my skating that I think anyone will tell you is a big part of my game.”
Said coach Alain Vigneault, “It’s really unfortunate. From my understanding, a lot of times they feel that it can heal on its own, even while you’re playing. In Kevin’s case, it didn’t.”
The Rangers have won two straight games and currently hold the Eastern Conference’s first wild card. They begin a four-game western trip Saturday at Colorado, which has won eight straight.
Notes & quotes: The Rangers recalled defenseman Tony DeAngelo from Hartford after the Shattenkirk news . . . Defenseman Marc Staal (injured hip flexor) and center Kevin Hayes (bruised leg) skated at practice and will skate Saturday, but they’re out against Colorado. “I’d say they’re both 50-50 for Sunday” at Los Angeles, Vigneault said . . . Daniel Catenacci was summoned from Hartford as an extra forward.