Will a Local Club Go After Kevin Shattenkirk?

  1. The National Hockey League’s trade deadline is a month away (Feb. 28, 3 p.m.) and there’s no doubt that the Rangers, Islanders and Devils will be considering a move. After all, everybody talks deals, but few make them.
  1. The Game’s bible, The Hockey News, proclaims that St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk should have “five trade destinations.”
  1. Since Shattenkirk is a New Rochelle native — and camps in the Hamptons in the offseason — one of our three local clubs could be of interest to him.
  1. Writing in The Hockey News, well-informed Matt Larkin opines, “It’s long been assumed the Blues can’t afford to give Kevin a raise over his $4.25-million cap hit. Shattenkirk, 27, is one of the game’s premier puck-moving defensemen. He’s a commodity who doesn’t hit the open market often.”
  1. Two years ago, the Rangers nabbed Keith Yandle from the Coyotes and last year the biggie was Eric Staal.  Let’s not forget that when the Blueshirts won the Cup in 1994 their deadline dandies included Glenn Anderson, Craig MacTavish, Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan; all pivotal in the winning Crusade.

Rangers Matteau Devils 1994

  1. Now that Henrik Lundqvist is ruling his crease with old-time authority, some analysts believe that The King’s ever-so-brief slump was a good thing.
  1. One such critic — ex-NHLer Jody Shelley, now TV guru with Columbus — sees Henny as returning to mint condition. “It was good for Hank to go through something like that,” Shelley told me. “He hasn’t lost a thing.”
  1. With the All-Star Break arriving, Doug Weight will have time to evaluate the five games during which he’s been Isles head coach. One challenge will be finding the ideal linemates for Andrew Ladd.Islanders Andrew Ladd John Tavares Alternate Stock 012617 GettyImages
  1. Relentlessly, Jason Chimera is playing more and more of the brand of two-way hockey Garth Snow had hoped for when signing him. JC still could match his 20-goal mark achieved last season.
  1. With a couple more weeks under his belt, Miles Wood — alias Miles Per Hour — will have the NHL figured out and should qualify as a first-liner.
  1. Cory Schneider is the best goaltender to interview regarding the new equipment changes ordered by the league. CS was among the most involved rubber stoppers to work with the league on equipment changes.
  1. John Tortorella brings his suddenly-average Blue Jackets to The Garden Tuesday. If nothing else, Torts’ media scrums are a show in themselves, although our old pal has calmed down a bit.
  1. When his Jackets visited Barclays Center last Tuesday, we saw the two sides of Torts and — no surprise — each one was riveting, as always.
  1. In his pre-game press conference, Torts acted like he was a student of revolutionary decorum. When I asked him about his son, Dominick, who just returned from Army service, John acted the prideful dad, which he is. Canine-lover who finds homes for stray dogs, Torts revealed that his wife, Christine, recently took in another stray. Before leaving us, John mentioned that he’s been in touch with his buddy, Jack Capuano and predicts the ex-Isles mentor will soon get a job. “He’s gonna be fine,” promised Torts. “One door closes, another one’s going to open up for him.”

mavens-haven_tortorella_20150611.jpg

  1. Torts also had time for a joke which was not the case post-game after his club lost, 4-2, to the Isles. Seething over the defeat, John nevertheless kept a lid on his temper. “I’m not discussing what went right and what went wrong with my players,” he said. The coach was asked four questions in 30 seconds and repeated the same mantra.  Bottom Line: No one suffers a loss more intensely than Torts.
  1. S.O.S. for all local goalies. By Feb. 4, the NHL mandates that all netminders switch to the new, streamline pants. Some, such as Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper insists that the league must monitor the “safety factor.” Others indicate that the new pants may increase the size of a goalie’s “five-hole.”
  1. I like Lundqvist’s sage observation: “The focus of the league should be to increase scoring chances, not necessarily goals. There are lots of goals in the All-Star Game; is that a good game?” (We all know the answer to that one. The King is right — again.)
  1. From This Week in Rangers History, “The Rangers played two games at Yankee Stadium as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series. The Blueshirts defeated New Jersey, 7-3, on Jan. 26 and defeated the Islanders, 2-1, on Jan. 29.”
  1. My recollection, watching the Devs-Rangers was that it suggested the beginning-of-the-end of Martin Brodeur‘s illustrious career. New Jersey had a quick lead and lost it just as quickly.
  1. Marty later joked that he always wanted “to play under the Stadium lights.” (He didn’t mean seven red lights either.)
  1. As for the Isles-Rangers, that was a terrific contest. In the post-game media scrum, I asked Alain Vigneault how much he felt “luck” played into the final score. (He didn’t seem to like the query.)
  1. All things considered, this has been a good week for Rangers’ netminders; and that includes those among the club’s prospects. Exhibits A and B follow:
  1. Igor Shesterkin, the Blueshirts’ fourth-round draft pick in 2014, played in his first KHL All-Star Game last weekend. He is currently second in the KHL with eight shutouts, third in save percentage (.941), and fourth in goals against average (1.55).
  1. Mackenzie Skapski, who missed the entire offseason as well as a huge chunk of this season due to hip surgery, earned his first AHL win of the season on Jan. 22 at Providence, by saving 33 of the 35 shots directed his way.
  2. Of course, it’s too soon to tell but based on early views Jean-Francois Berube looks like the real goods in goal as Islanders backup.
  1. It’s easy to explain Ladd’s awakening on the Islanders’ offense. He had been hurting and coach Weight rested him sufficiently to produce a major asset that’s turned the Brooklynites into winners.
  1. Both of Ladd’s two goals in the winning effort against Montreal weren’t flukes. Handy Andy actually beat Carey Price a third time but his shot the goal post.
  1. Overlooked in the Isles’ climb has been the endlessly reliable Calvin de Haan, shot-blocker supreme and iron man on defense.
  1. This from my man in Newark, Leo Scaglione, Jr.: “Devils newcomer Stefan Noesen played as advertised in the Thursday night game vs. Washington. He was physical, fast, strong on the forecheck and also showed his sniper side with a goal from the slot.”
  1. Pavel Zacha’s adjustment to the NHL has been slow but sure. He’s playing a more competitive game and it’s showing on the stats sheet.
  1. The Maven likes John Tavares as penalty-killer. Granted that the Captain needs time to master the role but he’s giving his game an added dimension and on JT it looks OK.

P.S. FOR HUMOR: When masks became commonplace equipment for goaltenders, Rangers Hall of Fame rubbermeister Gump Worsley was asked why he never wore a face protector. To that, Gump had the perfect squelch: “My face is my mask!”