The Rangers haven’t had very many flamboyant players throughout their history. Sean Avery, maybe. Gene Carr, blond locks flying behind him as he raced down the wing, sure, but he lasted about two years and was beaten down by the time he was sent away in the early 70’s. Eddie Shack, most definitely, but he last wore the Blueshirt almost 60 years ago.
Jacques Plante, oh for sure, but the fabled netminder who joined the team at age 35 for the 1963-64 season, did not have nearly enough success in his year-plus in New York to flaunt his stuff. There was, however, the grandiose and theatrical bow he took after recording a shutout in his Garden debut as a Ranger.
But the Blueshirts have one now and if he is not necessarily the linear descendent of Plante, Igor Shesterkin plays the position with a touch of showmanship that also recalls another French-Canadian goaltender by the name of Patrick Roy.
A touch of showmanship, a pinch of competitive arrogance, and a heaping amount of talent. Plante. Roy. Shesterkin.
Now wait a second. I don’t have the 24-year-old Russian joining the pair of French-Canadians in the Hockey Hall of Fame just yet. But there is that aura that radiates from Shesterkin. Not only is he going to beat you, he is going to beat you with style.