Banged-Up Rangers Suffer Injury Blow to Shattenkirk

Kevin Shattenkirk has made no secret of the pressure he’s placed on his own shoulders, being a New Rochelle kid living out his dream of playing for the Rangers.

On Friday, Shattenkirk admitted that his unwillingness to “disappoint” people – family, friends, fans, teammates and himself included – in his first season in New York, played a part in his trying to play through a torn meniscus in his left knee, which he’s had since September.

[Press Release: Kevin Shattenkirk Injury Update]

On Monday, Shattenkirk will have surgery to repair that knee, and he will be out indefinitely, though the defenseman believes he will be back for the season’s stretch run.

“It’s tough,” Shattenkirk said, his face telling just how tough.

“Thinking about this year, you want everything to go perfectly, and I think I’ve been trying to battle through this for a lot of reasons. When it came down to it, today, and we talked about it, you have to think about yourself. I’ve been worried about a lot more things, trying not to disappoint a lot of people – me included in that.

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“It’s hard to be leaving a team. It’s never easy to be sidelined. You don’t get to hang out with the guys as much and feel that camaraderie. But I also feel like, what I was putting out on the ice … I wasn’t giving the guys on my team the best that I had. That almost makes you feel worse. You don’t want to be disappointed as a teammate. I think that this is the first step to get back to where I am and come back and have a meaningful impact down the stretch.”

Shattenkirk’s strengths are his skating and his ability to move the puck and make plays. The knee injury has certainly contributed to a stat line that says zero goals in 30 games (since Nov. 6) and one assist in his last 13.

“It’s been painful and it’s something that I’ve been able to, with the training staff here – they’ve done a tremendous job of helping me manage the pain,” he said.

Kevin Shattenkirk discloses his meniscus tear, what his plan is for the remainder of the season and why he chose to have the surgery now.

“What has really been the x-factor is that it limits me off the ice as far as training and keeping my body in the shape that I normally can. And I feel that because of it, my left leg is starting to get a lot weaker and not allowing me to play my game and have the escape-ability and the explosiveness in my skating that I think anyone will tell you is a big part of my game. I feel like, recently, it’s been something that’s really been glaring. It’s kind of the point where we needed to decide whether or not to do this, and I think it’s the right thing to do in the long run.”

The injuries continue to pile up for the Rangers as they head out for a four-game Western trip starting against red-hot Colorado Saturday afternoon.

Chris Kreider (blood clot, ribcage surgery) remains out long-term. Kevin Hayes (leg) and Marc Staal (hip) will skate in Denver Saturday and Sunday, but are 50-50 at best for Sunday’s game in Los Angeles, coach Alain Vigneault said.

Alain Vigneault addresses the media on Kevin Shattenkirk's torn meniscus, recalling Anthony DeAngelo and how injuries are just a part of the NHL.

The Rangers recalled defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, 22, from Hartford to replace Shattenkirk on the power play, and also brought up forward Daniel Catenacci, 24, to have an extra player on the trip.

The Rangers also assigned rookie Lias Andersson, their first-round draft pick last summer, from Frolunda, his team in Sweden, to Hartford.

Vigneault said he spoke with Hartford coach Keith McCambridge Friday, and that he said of DeAngelo, “the last couple of weeks he’d been very solid moving the puck out of his own end, good on the power play, so he felt that at this time he was probably playing his best hockey since he’s been in Hartford.”

Ultimately, Shattenkirk and the team’s medical staff determined the surgery was the best option.

“It’s been going on since the end of September into early October,” Shattenkirk said.

“We did a cortisone shot before the season, which started to wear off right around eight to 10 weeks or so. We tried another PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection over the bye week. Just the inflammation and everything really started to creep back in. So it’s really been going on all season – something we’re trying to progressively attack and it just hasn’t responded the way we hoped it would.”

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The Garden of Dreams Foundation helps kids facing obstacles in the Tri-State area, including Rangers fan Taylor Ryan who is battling a rare blood disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.