If the New York Rangers fail to repeat as the NHL's Eastern Conference champions this year, at least the team has stepped up its game in the arena of cooking. In recent weeks, several Rangers players have curiously appeared in cooking videos, effectively trading their usual skate blades for equally sharp kitchen knives.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, for one, joined celebrity chef Mario Batali in making gnocchi during a taping of the new MSG Network interview series “The Mask with Henrik Lundqvist.” In turn, Batali helped custom-design a new goalie mask for the Rangers' puck-stopper, depicting a gooey slice of pizza and a sign for the famous chef's Greenwich Village restaurant Babbo, among other nifty graphics. (Lundqvist previously assisted Batali with an acorn-squash ravioli recipe during an episode of the ABC cooking show "The Chew" in 2011.)

Meanwhile, forwards Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello competed in a cook-off, preparing porterhouse steaks at restaurateur Danny Meyer's North End Grill. "Feels like we're in a sauna here, eh?" one of the icemen quips as the teammates arrive in the kitchen. North End Grill's real chef, Eric Korsh, is instructive but ultimately critical of the athletes' efforts in his role as contest judge, noting that both guys' steaks end up a little underseasoned. "I think both of you guys are great hockey players," Korsh says. "But as far as cooks go, I don't know."

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