Rangers Roundup: Shesterkin, Fox, Panarin have All-Star fun, plus Sammy Blais scores twice
A trio of New York Rangers were all smiles as they participated in the All-Star Skills competition on Friday night. From the beaches of Fort Lauderdale to FLA Live Arena the NHL had a variety of events to put smiles on the faces of fans and players alike.
Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, and Igor Shesterkin will dress for the Metro Division as they look to win the All-Star Game which begins with the Central and Pacific Divisions facing off at 3 PM ET on ABC. The winner will play the victor of the Metro vs Atlantic matchup at 4 PM ET.
Rangers All-Star Fun
In a pre-recorded event that took place on Thursday, Fox and Shesterkin teamed up in the Splash Shot event. It was a dunk-tank competition where the shooter of one team has to hit five surfboards before taking aim at an NHL logo to sink their opponent. Fox was able to win round one, but was unfortunately all wet in the round two final.
Avalanche teammates Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen won the event despite a valiant effort by Shesterkin, who attempted to beat Rantanen’s laser accurate shooting using a goalie stick.
Shesterkin then teamed up with close friend Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders in the Tendy Tandem. Oddly, Shesterkin was not the shooter for the event as he watched Sorokin miss the net on all his tries. The Rangers netminder missed scoring a goal just prior to the break missing an empty net by inches.
Canadian Women’s National Team star Sarah Nurse scored a Peter Forsberg-style goal against Shesterkin to the cheers of fans in attendance. The Central Division’s tandem of the Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck and Preds’ Juuse Saros were the winners.
Panarin competed in the Accuracy competition and advanced to the semi-finals only to fall to Brock Nelson of the rival Islanders, who eventually won the event.
The Breadman was asked earlier in the day if he was going to win the event and he delivered one of his trademark comedic responses.
“I told you, I have 13 goals in 50 games,” he laughed. “How I win this?”
Sammy Blais scores twice
The Rangers and Sammy Blais agreed to an AHL conditioning stint before the All-Star Break which appears to be achieving the desired results.
“He hasn’t played bad for us,” Gallant said regarding the stint. “He’s played 8 or 9 minutes most games. He hasn’t gotten into a groove and he hasn’t had any luck. He’ll go down there and play a lot of minutes… Hopefully some good thing happen to him. Just restart him…I think he’s going to play 5 or 6 games hopefully and come back.”
Blais, 26, now has 4 goals in 5 games with the Wolf Pack after scoring the game-tying and winning tallies on Friday night.
On the game-winning goal, Blais showed not only a burst of speed but some silky mitts as well.
Prior to being sent down for more playing time, Blais struggled with just 5 assists in 38 games this season. He has yet to record a goal with the Blueshirts since being part of the return from the St. Louis Blues in the Pavel Buchnevich trade over the span of 52 games dating back to last year.
Blais signed a one-year deal with the Rangers this past summer for an AAV of $1.525M and will be a UFA in July.
NHL News and Rumors
Cool stories developing for All-Star Game. Read more.
Updated NHL Trade Bait Tracker. Read more.
Ovi Jr steals All-Star Skills show. Read more.