Archive for Rick Nash
Unless you were living under a rock this season, you noticed that the Rangers need to make some changes if they wish to stay relevant in the NHL. Without singling out specific players, they were slow, apathetic, careless, and sloppy all season long. Some of it was attitude, with the apparent expectation that they could just flip the switch in the playoffs. That didn’t work.
The bigger issue was the inability to get the puck out of the defensive zone to transition to offense. On defense, only Keith Yandle consistently moved the puck out of the defensive zone. But he’s going to command $6 million on the open market. That snowballed throughout the lineup, as the forwards were unable to generate speed through the neutral zone. That stymied the offense, especially in the playoffs.
This offseason is a critical one for Jeff Gorton and the New York Rangers. A team with significant holes and cap problems, the Rangers will need to get creative and possibly break a few fan’s hearts in order to get back to respectability and a true chance at the Stanley Cup. Because one thing is for certain, the team as constructed cannot win a Cup.
While much of the focus has been on the albatross deals to Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, there has been some focus on whether or not to trade Rick Nash. Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit is second to Henrik Lundqvist, and for some that means he should be the highest scoring forward on the team. We can get into the flawed logic of salary equals production, but that’s a discussion for another time. For now, let’s focus on what Nash brings to the lineup.
The Rangers dropped the first game of their opening round matchup with the Penguins on Wednesday night, 5-2. Patrick Hornqvist lead the way for the Penguins, with a hat trick, and the Rangers lost Henrik Lundqvist to a scary eye injury. Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were basically traffic cones all evening and the Rangers were shut down by a third string goaltender. As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…
1. Where else to start but with Hank? Forget the fact that the Rangers realistic chances of winning this series were all but hinged on Hank playing at a Conn Smythe level. Let’s talk about the injury itself. I have had the misfortune of experiencing something fairly similar, so I feel I can lend some perspective. My experience involved the opposite end of the stick, but it still belonged to my defenseman and still slipped through the bars on the cat’s-eye. My defender backed into me and it seemed like slow motion that the butt-end of his stick just continued coming until I could feel it make contact with my eye.
Happy Friday, BSB community. After what seems like weeks of hand wringing, the Rangers have finally strung together a few solid performances in a row following the disaster in San Jose. Only eight games remaining before the second season starts, so naturally, I have some thoughts…
Some well timed losses from the Penguins and Islanders have given the Rangers a little more breathing room in their quest for home ice in the first round. At this point, they at least control their own destiny. Something tells me they are going to have to earn it, because I don’t see either of those teams doing the Rangers any favors down the stretch. Read More→
Could the Rangers be a contender without Rick Nash on their roster? If you think the answer to that question is yes, then you may have come to a similar conclusion about what the Rangers should do with Rick Nash as I did. Let me qualify this by stating I am a huge Rick Nash fan.
I’m a proud owner of a blue #61 jersey, a signed Nash puck and have followed his career since he emerged as a major prospect for the OHL London Knights. However, after this season comes to an end – and regardless of how it ends – it may be in the Rangers’ best interests to move Nash and the final two years of his $7.8m/year contract.
At some point your best players need to be just that. At some point, the forward you pay $7.8m a year to score goals needs to score goals. At some point, hustle, a defensive conscience and ‘driving possession’ isn’t enough. Nash needs to produce on the ice.
After a pretty consistent schedule, the Rangers have enjoyed three days off before they take on the Red Wings tomorrow afternoon at Joe Louis Arena. That will be the Rangers 68th game of the season, so we are coming down to the wire. Once colleagues and clients start irritating me with talk of brackets, upsets and obscure mountain colleges, I know the NHL playoffs aren’t too far away. Anyway, I have some scattered thoughts… Read More→
Good news, folks. Rick Nash is on the ice at practice in a non-contact jersey. Nash has been out for a month now with a bone bruise. Considering the type of injury, the fact that he is skating is a very positive sign. He should be back in the lineup sooner rather than later, assuming no setbacks.
Some quick updates today on the injury front:
- Jesper Fast did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh. Instead of using Dylan McIlrath at forward again, which was a miserable experiment, the Rangers will make an emergency recall before the game. The recall will not count against the cap of four recalls allowed following the trade deadline.
- Rick Nash is improving, and Alain Vigneault expects the winger back with the team within the next 10-12 days.
Some quick injury updates as we await the game tonight in Dallas (or deadline moves):
- Rick Nash had another MRI, and is about 7-10 days from skating again. Alain Vigneault said that bone injuries take anywhere from 4-8 weeks, so Nash could still be out a while after being downgraded to week-to-week. Nash has been out since the beginning of the month, and 4-8 weeks slots his return in the middle-end of March.
- Jesper Fast took a puck to the face in practice, breaking his nose and a few teeth. He is expected to play tomorrow, but Dylan McIlrath will play forward if Fast can’t go.
All is quiet in Rangerland right now. The Rangers never let their trades leak early, and while I don’t expect anything to come until Sunday at the earliest, never say never. It appears to be a foregone conclusion that they will make a move though.
Update: Fast will play tonight. McIlrath is the healthy scratch.
It still remains possible, maybe even likely that the Rangers just aren’t quite ready to hand Dylan McIlrath or Brady Skjei a full-time job yet and want to maintain a veteran presence on the blueline for this playoff run, with the knowledge that Marc Staal and/or Dan Girardi must go following the season. And while many fans are concerned that neither player would have any suitors, last week’s Dion Phaneuf blockbuster (and the David Clarkson deal before that) should provide ample evidence that there’s no such thing as an untradeable contract.
But if management can’t – or perhaps more accurately, won’t unload one of the veteran blueliners for some ungodly reason, then moving Rick Nash during the offseason is an alternative.