Shesterkin shifting mindset after down year: 'I was too hard on myself'
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin is embracing a happier approach to the upcoming season after a self-proclaimed poor attitude hindered his performance in 2022-23.
"I just want to be positive every day because last season I was so mad at myself because I didn't play like I want," Shesterkin told NHL.com's Dan Rosen. "I hope this season will be the other way, and I will be more happy and enjoy more to talk with you guys."
Shesterkin was among the league's top netminders last season with 37 wins and a .916 save percentage. However, it was a notable step back from his dominant Vezina-winning 2021-22 campaign when he led the NHL in save percentage (.935), goals against average (2.07), and goals saved above average (44.9).
The 27-year-old admitted he had difficulty handling the regression.
"Oh yeah, I was too hard on myself, for sure," Shesterkin said. "I think you remember how I was every practice, so mad, and I didn't want to talk too much with anybody except my family."
He added: "I don't need to think about anything, just make a push, stop, and be focused, but last season, I just started thinking too much before a shot, before a pass, and I made the first move. It's easier for forwards to score."
The Rangers finished third in the Metropolitan Division last campaign with 107 points before surrendering a 2-0 series lead to the New Jersey Devils in the opening round of the playoffs. Shesterkin managed a .931 save percentage over the seven-game series.
The deflating elimination prompted the club to fire head coach Gerard Gallant and replace him with Peter Laviolette.