Rangers Practice Buzz: Igor Shesterkin to start, Libor Hajek to debut, and Kaapo Kakko off COVID list

The New York Rangers held practice today and some surprises to report. Let’s start off with the best news; Kaapo Kakko.

Kaapo Kakko back in the lineup

There was a bit of concern when Kaapo Kakko turned up on the NHL’s COVID Protocol List due to being a diabetic. His stint was brief as he was back on the ice for practice and will play tomorrow against the Capitals.

Kakko was also placed on a line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome to which David Quinn said that will be a line for tomorrow.

Igor Shesterkin to start again

rangers lineup
Shesterkin at practice (NHLI/NYR)

David Quinn also announced that Igor Shesterkin will start against Washington which abruptly ends the goalie rotation – for now.

The coach is starting Shesterkin based off his last game against the Penguins where he stopped 25 of 26 shots. He also noted that Alexandar Georgiev has “been through a lot” over the last few days, so this made sense.

Libor Hajek to debut

Libor Hajek, made quite an impression during the 2018-19 season where he played 5 games and scored a great goal before having his season end early due to a separated shoulder.

Coming into this last season, Libor made the team out of camp and was partnered on left defense with Adam Fox. The two rookies had some puck management issues and were separated with Hajek finding himself playing mostly with Jacob Trouba.

This season, the 22 year-old did not make the roster and has been relegated to the taxi squad up until now. Injuries to both Jack Johnson and Brendan Smith have given Hajek the chance he’s been looking for.

Expect Hajek to be paired with Anthony Bitetto.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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