New York Rangers’ goalie Igor Shesterkin wasn’t happy after being pulled by concussion spotters during a critical moment of Tuesday’s NHL game against the Bruins.
Shesterkin turned in an incredible performance against Boston on Tuesday, stopping 31 of 32 shots. The Russian netminder made several highlight-reel saves that led to the crowd at Madison Square Garden chanting his name.
The Bruins and Rangers were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. Early in overtime, Boston forward Craig Smith crashed into Shesterkin in the Rangers’ crease. Shesterkin appeared shaken up but stayed in the game.
With just 40 seconds left in overtime, Rangers trainer Jim Ramsey came on the ice to check on Shesterkin. It appears concussion spotters forced Shesterkin to leave the game. Shesterkin was frustrated, smashing his stick on the glass as he skated off the ice.
According to NHL concussion protocol, players are required to be removed from games for evaluation if they show visible signs of a concussion after getting hit in the head. Backup Alex Georgiev came off the bench and into the game ice-cold.
Shesterkin was able to stay in the game for several minutes after the collision, so it’s unclear why it took so long to pull him from the contest. That’s likely why Shesterkin smashed his stick.
You can watch the bizarre sequence below.
Igor Shesterkin not happy after being taken out of the Rangers/Bruins game during OT pic.twitter.com/PxCPXEirD1
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 16, 2022
Shesterkin returned to the game for the shootout, stopping seven of nine Boston shooters to get the Rangers the victory. The good news is the Rangers’ goalie has no concussion after clearing protocol.
MSG absolutely loved Igor Shesterkin's return to the ice for the shootout. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/M6KC5wQf1M
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 16, 2022
Shesterkin voiced his frustration with the NHL’s concussion protocol during his post-game press conference.
“I don’t really understand the whole point of that protocol, there’s 40 seconds left in the overtime. Just let me finish the play and then you can do whatever protocol you feel is necessary.”
Shesterkin also stated that he regrets smashing his stick. He promises it won’t happen again.
“Honestly, I did lose control of it when I got sent off. You saw me hitting the boards with my stick. That won’t happen again. I promise. But when I came out, the stands just gave me so much energy that I couldn’t do anything else but save the game.”
It’s easy to understand Shesterkin’s frustration given his competitive nature. The Rangers’ netminder was in the zone against the Bruins and is the current Vezina Trophy favorite.
While the NHL has rules in place to protect its players, you have to feel for Shesterkin in this instance. Whether or not you agree with the NHL concussion rules, it’s awesome to see Shesterkin’s passion for winning.