Archive for Rick Nash
Since the analytics movement began a few years ago, there has been a pretty consistent back and forth amongst the old and new school about the proper way to go about assembling a hockey team. The old adage is that you can’t build a team on a spreadsheet. More goes into it than that. On the other side of the coin, you take what you can quantify and use the most important data as the backbone for the team’s construction. At the end of the day, it all kind of boils down to “how do you quantify chemistry, character and heart?” It is even possible? Read More→
After a semi-frustrating loss to the Islanders on Wednesday, the Rangers now have eight games left in the regular season. They have a 12-point lead in their spot for the first wild card and a 14-point lead for the second wild card. At this juncture, it’s pretty clear they are going to be playing the winner of the Atlantic Division, the only question is whether Montreal will be able to hold on or if Ottawa will overtake their current three point lead. At this weird spot in the season, I have some thoughts… Read More→
The Rangers are finally starting to get healthy, per the notes from practice yesterday. To summarize:
- Pavel Buchnevich and Rick Nash will return to the lineup tonight. With Nicklas Jensen already sent down, one of Matt Puempel, Brandon Pirri, or Marek Hrivik will sit so both can play (unless Jesper Fast can’t play).
- Fast has the flu. AV wasn’t 100% he will be good to go tonight.
- Mika Zibanejad was skating in full yesterday. He will not play this weekend, and will practice again in full on Monday. Alain Vigneault hinted that it’s a matter of getting Zibanejad back in game shape.
- Marc Staal is likely not playing this weekend. That likely means the same defense pairings tonight and tomorrow.
Where do you start with the Rangers top six? If you’re grading the offense as a whole, it’s fair to say you would give the team a strong grade – probably A level.
The Rangers boast an elite (at least statistically) powerplay, they sit second in the league in goals per game (3.4/game) and have scored more goals than every team in the league (144 at time of writing). However, when you break it down, has every player played to his own individual ability?
Rick Nash may never again score 40 goals in a season, but his play this season should put any debate about his Rangers’ future to bed. So long as Dan Girardi is on the Rangers blue line, and Jeff Gorton doesn’t significantly address the Rangers defense, the Rangers cannot afford to get rid of a genuinely elite two-way player such as Nash.
Nash’s play without the puck and his defensive conscience are essential to the team, as in his absence we’ve seen inconsistent play from the forwards in their own zone. The Rangers are not a good team defensively and this relative ineptitude in their own zone has only enforced Nash’s importance to the cause.
Even before confirmation that he needs to be protected in the expansion draft, Nash’s own impressive play this season should have made him a player the Rangers would have protected anyway. There is simply no replacing Nash. Whether it’s his ability as a goal scorer, as a leader, or as a two-way example to the younger players on the roster. Cap hit and age be damned.
The Rangers have gone 8-3 in their last eleven games, which is obviously a good thing. However, there has been some really bad process along the way. I don’t think there is any question at this point that the Rangers are most definitely a playoff team, but the bigger concern lies in their ability to win a seven game series with the likes of the Penguins and Capitals.
At BSB, we analyze performance on a game-by-game basis, while trying to identify good and bad traits in what is happening on the ice. We also like to take macro view of overall production and trends, which can hopefully be predictive of future performance and adjustments that need to be made for sustained success. I suppose what makes analyzing this stretch of Rangers’ hockey frustrating is the injuries to several key forwards, namely Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich.
Per Larry Brooks, forward Rick Nash, who just returned from a groin injury, will miss tomorrow’s game against the Penguins with a different groin injury. Nash played just one shift in last night’s shootout win against the Devils, tweaking the other groin in the process.
Nash has been a monster this season, turning in a dominant performance in almost every game he’s played. But now the Rangers will be without him again, just as they were starting to get healthy.
Nash’s timetable is uncertain, but after tomorrow against Pittsburgh, the Rangers don’t play until Friday, then have the mandated Christmas break for another three games. It wouldn’t shock me if Nash misses both games before returning after Christmas.
No Ranger forward is more polarizing year after year than Rick Nash. Opinions on Nash range from best 5v5 forward on the team to terrible and needs to be traded. It’s a little entertaining to see the back-and-forth regarding Nash, but it’s tough to argue that Nash hasn’t been one of the best forwards on the club this year.
Through 29 games, Nash has a line of 13-7-20, and is on pace for a 30-goal season. He’s tied with Michael Grabner for the team lead in goals, and is fourth on the team in points. He’s also tied for the team lead in PPG (4) and PPP (6). All this while missing four games due to injury.
Update: Nash will be out one week following an MRI. Puempel has been placed on IR with a concussion, so he will be out at least a week as well. Placing Puempel on IR gives the Rangers room for the Nicklas Jensen call up.
Original Post: More injury news for the Rangers, as their forward depth keeps getting gutted by injuries. They appear to have lost two more forwards to injuries, time tables TBD.
Matt Puempel left the game in the first with a concussion, after taking a rather vicious cross check to the chin by Brock Nelson. Puempel is in the standard concussion protocol
More importantly, Rick Nash tweaked his groin in the second and did not return. That’s a significant loss for the Rangers if it’s long term. More to come.
Rick Nash gets his 400th NHL goal.