GREENBURGH - Sitting at his stall, the evidence of Igor Shesterkin’s hard day’s work was plainly evident.
Beads of sweat dripped from his hair and his head down to the floor, a few minutes after the Rangers’ franchise goalie had finished a laborious 45 minutes during the team’s optional practice at its training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y.
And so, the question posed to Shesterkin, who hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury in the Rangers’ 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 2 was simple and to the point:
How was he feeling?
“Great,” Shesterkin said.
Which figures to be pleasant news to those affiliated with the Rangers, who have won three-out-of-four without the goaltender, including Sunday night’s come-from-behind 4-3 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Due to a quirk in the schedule, the Rangers will not play again until Saturday night in Newark, against the Devils. Which gives coach Peter Laviolette more time to monitor Shesterkin before having to make a decision whether or not the goaltender dresses for the first iteration of the Hudson River Rivalry in the 2023-24 season.
“He’s having a good day,” Laviolette said of Shesterkin. “He’s out there for practice. He’s going without any restrictions from us. So that’s a positive sign.”
Along with Shesterkin, the only Rangers to get on the ice were defensemen Braden Schneider and Zac Jones, and forwards Nick Bonino, Blake Wheeler, Jimmy Vesey, Kaapo Kakko, Will Cuylle, and Tyler Pitlick.
According to Laviolette, second line center Filip Chytil has not started skating and top-pair defenseman Ryan Lindgren received “maintenance.” Lindgren suffered an upper-body injury in the third period of Sunday night’s win over the Blue Jackets following a hit from Columbus’ Sean Kuraly, and was unable to finish the game.
Initially, Kuraly was given a major penalty for boarding, but the call was changed to two two-minute minors for boarding and roughing. It is unlikely that he will face any supplemental discipline from the league, as there have not been any announcements from its player safety department regarding a meeting with the center.
“The league looks at everything,” Laviolette said. “Then they make decisions from there. Whether you agree with the decisions [or] you don’t agree with the decisions, that’s your job. I think they do a really good job of trying to cover everything, the safety of the players and I always think there [are] calls that are controversial…[due to] what one person saw and another sees. I think that’s always the way, but for the most part I think that they do a good job.
“With regard to [Lindgren], like I said, we’re hopeful Wednesday is a good day and we see him in practice.”
As a result, the Rangers, who are already missing Lindgren’s partner Adam Fox due to a lower body injury, were forced to give extended minutes to K’Andre Miller (27:29), Erik Gustafsson (26:18), and Jacob Trouba (22:54).
Schneider finished with 14:38 of ice-time while Jones clocked in at 13:27. Neither played in overtime.
“It was a pretty taxing game for a lot of guys,” Laviolette said. “Just re-evaluating the minutes that [were] played [and] where guys were at physically, we cut back just a little bit today.”