Kevin Shattenkirk is expected to be in a sky box on Thursday when the New York Rangers take on the San Jose Sharks. It is a move that isn’t shocking considering the New Rochelle native skated 7:29 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes with 3:22 of that coming on the power play.
It was made pretty clear that Kevin Shattenkirk will be a healthy scratch Thursday at the Garden against the Sharks. He said he needs more "urgency" in his game, and Quinn said he needs to regain his confidence after what happened last year. #NYR— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) October 9, 2018
To his credit, Shattenkirk was upfront about how he feels he has played, and understands what is happening and why.
Shattenkirk on his likely benching: " I think all the ‘D’ have earned a spot on the roster and I’m probably the guy that needs to fight a little bit harder to get my spot back....This is probably a good little kick to get me going and get me out of this." #NYR— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) October 9, 2018
The news of Shattenkirk being next in line to take a seat is certainly interesting, albeit not entirely surprising. Quinn has a history with Shattenkirk that includes time together spent at BU and Lake Erie at the AHL level. If there’s anyone who knows what Shattenkirk is capable of, it is Quinn.
My initial reaction was that Shattenkirk hasn’t been the worst Ranger defender so why is he getting the hook first, but ultimately that may not be relevant to Quinn. If a player is deployed in a role and given a job to do, a coach can choose to react to that context instead of the overall performance of the team. In three games at 5v5 he’s posted a CF% of 52.5 and a SF% of 60. He also has a GF% of 0 and an xGF% of 44.44. All the while he’s rocking a PDO of 83.33 which indicates some bad luck on his part.
The fact of the matter is Shattenkirk is an offensive defenseman with no offense to his name at this point, and the coach wants more out of him. It comes down to expectations, and this is Quinn’s way of saying he needs to take it to another level, while also rewarding someone who has waited their turn and responded in a positve way.
Shattenkirk’s likely scratching means Tony DeAngelo should have a regular rotation in the lineup and if he plays like he did vs. the Hurricanes he will put himself in position to hold onto that spot for the foreseeable future. That would be a good thing, as he’s a gifted skater and puck distributor who adds something of value up front. The result of DeAngelo earning a spot would force a decision from Quinn because Shattenkirk is unlikely to sit multiple games in a row.
That decision will come in due time, but for now this is the latest example of Quinn holding a veteran accountable, and him setting a standard. Everything will be great if the standard is consistent going forward, because that is one thing that certainly wasn’t the case with his predecessor.
Stats via Corsica unless otherwise indicated.