NYR Practice Buzz: Igor Shesterkin ready to face Sabres; Brett Howden update; and what’s up with Vitali Kravtsov?

By Anthony Scultore
Mar 10, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) in action during the game between the Rangers and the Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers held a late practice today at the MSG Training Center. During the session Vitali Kravtsov was working with the fourth line and rotating with Colin Blackwell. This is a clear indication that he will not be debuting in Buffalo tomorrow night.

New York Rangers practice notes

Before people start panicking or screaming at their smartphones (and yes I realize it may already be too late), Kravtsov is not going to debut on the 4th line. David Quinn and the organization have said repeatedly they will not rush him and want to give him a few practices with the team before jumping in.

“We certainly recognize with his skill set, he’s not a fourth line type of player,” Quinn explained. “When he does get in, we’re aware of that, we know we need to put him in a position to succeed – That certainly isn’t lost on us as a staff.”

So just consider this one step closer. As I’ve said for weeks (and yes I sound like a broken record); Kravtsov will start on a third line with Alexis Lafrenière and Filip Chytil.

Also coming out of practice is what everyone expected. Igor Shesterkin will start tomorrow and will likely carry the bulk of the workload. The big question is will he play the back-to-back scheduled on April 8th and 9th against the Penguins and Islanders respectively? A workhorse number one would.

Brett Howden nearing a return

brett howden
Feb 18, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers center Brett Howden (21) carries the puck against Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers center Brett Howden has missed five games since being placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list. The 23 year-old is recovering and has to pass his cardiac screening before being able to return. He will not trade with the team to Buffalo and is expected to miss the next two games as well.

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