MONTREAL — David Quinn and Kevin Shattenkirk have gone through this before. At the news conference this past summer at which Quinn was introduced as the new coach of the Rangers, Shattenkirk mentioned that Quinn — who had recruited him to Boston University while he was an assistant coach there — scratched him in one game when he was playing in the minor leagues. Quinn scratched Shattenkirk in one game this season, too.
So when Quinn benched Shattenkirk in the third period of Thursday night’s 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators, it wasn’t anything new. And at practice Friday at Bell Centre in Montreal, where the Rangers prepared for Saturday’s game against the Canadiens, both men were quick to say that Thursday’s game had been addressed and put behind them.
“Absolutely,’’ Quinn said when asked if his issue with Shattenkirk had been resolved. “You’ll see him [Saturday] night.’’
Neither Quinn on Thursday night nor Shattenkirk on Friday would reveal what it was that led to the benching of Shattenkirk, 29, who signed a four-year, $26.6-million contract with the Rangers in the summer of 2017.
“That’s something that’s handled in house and something that we talked about today, and it’s water under the bridge,’’ Shattenkirk said. “So we move on. We need to move on quickly — it’s just a tough emotional night, and that’s what it came down to.’’
Shattenkirk said he understood why Quinn sat him down and even said the decision was “something I would say I agreed with.’’ He insisted that their relationship means they put things out in the open and there are no hard feelings afterward.
Quinn said having such a close, long-standing relationship probably does make things more complicated, but he insisted that it doesn’t stop him from doing what he believes he must do for the good of the team.
“When you make those decisions, you just make them,’’ he said. “Because that’s what needs to happen.’’
Shattenkirk said the relationship makes it easier to accept Quinn’s decisions because he always knows the coach has his best interest at heart.
“He knows how to get the best out of me,’’ Shattenkirk said. “I know sometimes it can feel, as a player, that he’s pushing your buttons. But it’s all for the right reasons. And I have the utmost respect for him and listen to him 100 percent of the time.’’
Notes & quotes: With only 11 healthy forwards on the road trip, the Rangers called up RW Vinni Lettieri from Hartford. Lettieri, who started the season with the Rangers before being assigned to Hartford on Nov. 18, played four games there and scored three goals . . . Alexandar Georgiev will be in goal . . . Quinn said D Adam McQuaid (16 games missed with a lower-body injury) is making progress and may be two weeks away from returning . . . Sunday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets will be Vic Hadfield Night, and the former Rangers captain will have his No. 11 raised to the MSG rafters. (No. 11 already is retired for Mark Messier.) The game will begin at 6 p.m. and the jersey will be raised at 4:30 p.m. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.