Questioned on Monday at the season-ending press conference, New York Rangers manager Gerard Gallant doesn’t regret cutting forward Kaapo Kakko from his team’s last game, which was eliminated in Saturday’s Eastern Association final.
The driver’s decision has certainly caused a stir in the circles of the National Hockey League (NHL), since the 21-year-old Finn is one of the players of the future for the blue shirts; moreover, Kakko, Filip Chytil and Alexis Lafrenière had the opportunity to deploy all their talent within the same trio during these 2022 playoffs, but, of course, Gallant tried to turn the tide of the duel against the Tampa Bay Lightning by sending the first of three men at the press review.
Meanwhile, Dryden Hunt and Dylan Strome have taken their places in the lineup. Everything turned out to be unsuccessful, because the Bolts won 2-1 in Tampa.
“It was a decision by the instructors, recalled Gallant, who expects to see the main player and Lafrenière in his top 6 offensive next season. We were trying to win a hockey game. We love the young, but we thought about this band [samedi] he was the best at winning the game. “
“It was a successful campaign,” he said more broadly. The other night was disappointing. I leave this place today very happy. I am proud of our boys. There is no sense of abandonment in them. “
Kakko has five points in 19 playoff games this year, having scored 18 in 43 regular season games. It remains to be seen if his exclusion from the last duel will affect his relations with the club. The outsider will actually be eligible for free will with a fee this summer. He has just completed a $ 10.725 million three-year contract signed on July 11, 2019. At the time, Jeff Gorton was working as the general manager of Rangers.
Shesterkin remains humble in the Hart Trophy race
If Rangers have been successful, both in the regular season and in the playoffs, it is largely thanks to their goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin.
His record of 36-13-4, 2.07 goals against average and 0.929 average save not only helped Rangers finish the season in second place in the Metropolitan Division, but also allowed the Russian goalkeeper to be named for the Hart Trophy, awarded each year to the player most useful to his team.
Shesterkin is in contention with Auston Matthews, who scored the 60 goals, and Connor McDavid, who led the Bettman circuit with 123 points. Shesterkin doesn’t believe too much in his chances of being named the winner of this honor.
“I didn’t let Matthews score against me,” he said, however, with a smile on his face. And I haven’t played against McDavid, but every day I watch some of their highlights. They are high-level players ”.
Shesterkin’s performances have even earned him a pre-match tradition where teammate Ryan Reaves shouts: “Shesty, deliver us! [Shesterkin, relâche-nous!]», Thus allowing the goalkeeper to lead his team on the track for the initial engagement.
“I was doing a similar version in Vegas, except I wasn’t screaming,” Reaves said. At the beginning of the year, I asked [Ryan Strome] if he wanted to free the guys and he had no idea what I was talking about, of course, then I just yelled at him and the guys liked it, so I carried on. “