Compatriots Igor Shesterkin, Ilya Sorokin crew up once more as NHL All-Stars

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin can be on the identical Metropolitan Division crew this weekend on the All-Star Game. That additionally means one of many goalies can be a chosen shooter through the Skills Competition on Friday.

“I hope [I’m the] shooter,” Sorokin, the Islanders’ netminder, stated Thursday, smiling. “Him, bad shooter.”

“No!” Shesterkin stated, knowledgeable of the scouting report. “Unfortunately, he’s so bad. If we get a soccer net, maybe he can score.”

But Shesterkin, who has made no secret of his need to attain in empty-net conditions, retains lacking.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s terrible,” Sorokin stated.

The Rangers’ goalie, although, typically works on that facet of his recreation. Unlike Sorokin.

“I think everybody knows [who’s gonna shoot], except him,” Shesterkin stated. “Can somebody explain to him?”

Russian goaltenders Ilya Sorokin of the Islanders and Igor Shesterkin of the Rangers
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There was no decision on the matter Thursday, so the playful trash speak will proceed on to Friday.

This weekend, although, is way from the primary time Shesterkin and Sorokin have worn the identical sweater. They’ve performed collectively on numerous Russian nationwide groups and have identified one another since they had been 16. Sorokin is the godfather of Shesterkin’s baby.

This is a particular type of friendship, folded into the Battle of New York and on show at All-Star Weekend.

“It’s really good,” Sorokin stated. [We] performed collectively in junior crew after we had been 16. Now we play in NHL. … Now we play in All-Star. So it’s actually a cool factor for us.”

Dwell for a second on the improbability of those two gamers each being in South Florida this weekend, starring for the Rangers and Islanders some 4,666 miles from Moscow, the place Shesterkin grew up, and 5,824 miles from Sorokin’s hometown of Mezhdurechensk. It is the form of close to impossibility that makes sports activities so nice.

Shesterkin already has a Vezina Trophy in his cupboard, having helped key the Rangers to the Eastern Conference finals final season, and has put collectively one other season worthy of the All-Star Game this 12 months. (Bizarrely, he was not chosen for final 12 months’s recreation).

Sorokin, whose .923 save share ranks second within the league, may quickly add a Vezina to match Shesterkin’s. After the Islanders added Bo Horvat in a commerce Monday night time, he can dream of a playoff run, too. And no doubt, he’s the most important cause the Islanders have even a fighter’s probability on the postseason.

The two spent the times main as much as All-Star festivities vacationing collectively in Miami. Of course they did.

The impression they’ve on their respective groups is nearly equivalent.

Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin reacts after giving up a goal to Montreal Canadiens right winger Cole Caufield in the third period.
Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin reacts after giving up a aim to Montreal Canadiens proper winger Cole Caufield within the third interval.

“When I saw [Shesterkin] at the hotel, they were together today,” Rangers defenseman Adam Fox stated. “It’s pretty remarkable. Two of the best goaltenders in the league and they’re good friends. Obviously it’s a lot of fun to have Shesty in net. He saves our behinds a lot.”

“[Sorokin’s] been our guy probably who gives us the most chances to win every night when he’s in there,” Islanders middle Brock Nelson stated. “His numbers kinda speak for themselves.”

The two textual content each week, Sorokin stated, and the dialog doesn’t normally focus on hockey. At Christmas, Shesterkin had Sorokin and Isles defenseman Alexander Romanov over to have a good time the vacation. And as each goalies have adjusted to life abroad, having an in depth pal so shut by has helped issues.

“We try to help each other out,” Shesterkin stated. “Not only in the hockey rink, outside, too. So if something happens we can call each other.”

There haven’t been many direct matchups between the 2, however once they have gone up in opposition to one another, the outcomes have been memorable. Sorokin bought the win at Madison Square Garden final March due to an absurd save on Artemi Panarin and Shesterkin bought one again this December because the Rangers mounted a three-goal third interval to beat the Islanders.

Since that December matchup was the final of simply three between the Rangers and Islanders this season, there would must be a playoff matchup between them for Shesterkin and Sorokin to match up once more earlier than the autumn. That is unlikely with the Islanders preventing to get into the event and the Rangers at present the third-place crew within the Metropolitan Division. But we are able to dream.

“I’m so happy to see them here,” stated Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, a fellow Russian. “Something about New York, I guess.”