Rich Chere in The Star-Ledger had an interesting note about Brendan Shanahan today. For one, Shanahan said he is well aware of comments saying he’s lost a step. For another, he said it’s his plan to come back and play next season, when he turns 40.
“Throughout my whole career, I think my skating has been criticized. It happened before I was 39, so I’m not surprised it happens when I’m 39,” Shanahan told Chere. “It doesn’t take a genius to go in that direction. It was something that was talked about before I even made it to junior hockey or to the NHL. There was a question about my skating. Since I was 16 years old, my answer has always been it’s about production with me.”
The point isn’t that Shanahan was ever considered a swift skater and now he isn’t. The point is that he’s having trouble getting to pucks that he was getting to last season, and even at the start of this one.
But even with all that, Shanahan is such a smart player that he remains arguably the Rangers’ best penalty killer, and can still be dangerous on the power play (this, of course, is contingent on the Rangers power play as a whole ever getting back on track — a big “if”, I know). That, along with his leadership, makes him invaluable to the Rangers at this time of year. But at even strength it might make sense to limit his ice time.