Rick Nash needs to step upMarch 15, 2014, by
At some stage, Rick Nash needs to be a consistent game changing force because that’s what he is being paid to be. At some stage, people will begin to question his ability to be motivated game in, game out. At some stage if things continue the way they are, the media criticism – so far, relatively tame on Nash – will crank up.
Even with Marty St Louis’ arrival, Nash may still be the most talented skater on the Rangers. Given St Louis’ eventual Hall of Fame conclusion to his career and Ryan McDonagh’s ascendancy to elite defenseman, that’s a big statement. However, 32 points in 52 games simply cannot be an acceptable return from Nash, even allowing for injuries and the disrupted Olympic season.
What’s wrong with Nash? Prior to the Canadian Olympic roster being named – and after it – Nash admitted that the call to Canada’s elite team was a cause of motivation. It also showed in his play as Nash scored in bunches. In New York Nash should have $7.8 million reasons to be motivated. It goes beyond money though.
Nash wanted a bigger stage and he got it. He wanted to be a focal point in a major market and he certainly has all that in NYC. The Rangers expect him (and need him) to be a leader on and off the ice. By all accounts his tutelage of Chris Kreider has been impressive, but Nash needs to deliver on the ice and to date, he’s not quite been what the Rangers expected.
His first year in New York was an acceptable one – until the playoffs. At close to a point per game, Nash added a genuine elite presence to a Rangers forward unit that was crying out for help. Then came the playoffs where he underwhelmed. This season, Nash has struggled for consistency and health, and suffered through the slumps of his linemates. His momentum was interrupted by the Olympic break, but truly elite players get back on the horse and contribute.
With injuries perhaps taking their toll, are Nash’s days as an elite power forward over? Can he truly be considered in the upper tier anymore? With the Rangers stumbling toward the regular season finish line, now is the time for Nash to take over and deliver. In theory a top six containing Nash, St Louis, Brad Richards and an elite talent like Kreider should be hard to contain. So far, it hasn’t been a consistent struggle for opposing teams.
Rick Nash has all the talent, size and supporting cast he should ever need. It’s time he put the Rangers on his back and showed them what they’ve invested in. The Rangers need Rick Nash to get back to his elite ways quickly, and stop teasing them with his talent."Rick Nash needs to step up",