Rick Nash is a man on a mission

rick nash

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.

It’s been fun to watch Nash, as he’s been explosive. It seems every time he touches the puck, something is going to happen. Just last night, there were three or four times where Nash just missed goals. He’s been an absolute force to be reckoned with. It’s almost as if he’s giving a giant middle finger to all the doubters.

For the Rangers to succeed this year, Nash was going to have to step up and be the go-to guy. He was going to have to be the guy Alain Vigneault pats on the shoulder when down a goal with less than a minute remaining. There haven’t been many opportunities like that yet, but he’s showing he will draw the attention of the defense, making life easier for his teammates.

His high cap hit will always make Nash a polarizing player among fans. Fans want perfection, and it’s tough to fault anyone for expecting a dominating performance on a nightly basis from the highest paid skater on the team. But while he may not be in the league-leaders in scoring, Nash is still giving that dominating performance on a nightly basis. There’s more to hockey than just points on the scoreboard, of which Nash is still up there.

Last year, the biggest criticism was that Nash wasn’t going to dirty areas. But this year, it seems every time Nash has the puck, he’s driving to the net, dropping the shoulder and trying to get a shot off. Or he’s in front fighting for a rebound. Or he’s using his body to shield the puck, drawing more defenders to him before dishing to a teammate.

Nash has been a dominating force for the Rangers on the ice this year, with no signs of slowing down. This is a very good sign for the Rangers, as they will need him to be that type of player when the games start counting in April and May. Nash is arguably the most important forward on the Rangers, seeing him play like this is critical to the success of this club.

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  • Why does AV continue to break up the Miller , Hayes combo all the time . They play well together and feed off each other . Never thought i would say this but they are a great pair on the PK .Last night game turned on AV pitting 10 and 13 back together , lats see if he will keep them together for the next couple of games . Will be interesting when Z and Buch are back , Would like to see the lines put back the way we started the year . Think he needs to put Pirrri back in for Puempel in Pittsburgh ,Puempel has not shown me nothing . PP needs to shoot a little bit more back to the pass pass pass chase the puck back up the ice routine again , with out Pirri and Zibanejad on the PP .Maybe give Grabner a shot on the PP at some point . LGR . 2 more before Xmas

    • AV breaks up that pairing because he just can’t help himself from tinkering, haha. Miller and Hayes are showing great chemistry lately and in my humble opinion should be glued together until they show some reason not to be.

  • it is so good to see rick back in the lineup he is using the tools his size and quickness to get some big goals thank you rick for Thursday nights win on my birthday see you on friday

  • Nash is one of a handful of Rangers who plays hard and can go to the net and make something out of nothing. He is playing like a guy playing for a contract, not a guy who could be a fat cat sitting on an $8M contract. Some of the others should learn from his desire and heart.

    Vesey & Hayes could become Nash if they just work hard and have summer sessions like Hayes had this past summer.

    • Sorry, Hayes will NEVER be another Nash. His skill set is much different. He has little speed and no shot. How about a Joe Thornton type( that wouldn’t be too bad). Versey goes into tough areas and looks like a sniper, but again, can’t carry or protect the puck like Nash can.

      • Hayes’ speed was a flaw that he has remedied, at a minimum is an average skater. He’s using power skating technique much more often, saw him overtake Staal going back for a puck.

      • Huh?
        Joe Thornton has had one of the nastiest shots in the league for a long time.
        Just because he’s regarded more for his passing, that shouldn’t take away any credit from his excellent shooting ability.

  • Nash has always been an excellent two way player. Staying healthy has been his main obstacle lately. May he stay healthy and remain in beast mode.

  • I agree with everything that has been said here so far today. HOWEVER… is also a fact that he is like the snow here in western New York. He disappears on April 10. I have been one of those who rags on Nash in the spring time, and I’m not apologizing for that. Here in New York, we reserve our canon list for those who shine in the playoffs and deliver championships. See- Willis Reed, Eli Manning, Lawrence Taylor, Mark Messier. I think it was Casey Stengel who said “you can look it up.” This ain’t Columbus- Nash can be on a mission in November and December all he wants. Deliver in May and June, then come see me.

    Stay warm everyone- regards, orange.

    P.S. now you can all give me all the thumbs down.

  • I have to admit, I’m lovin’ what I’m seeing from Nash. i wrote him off as a trade chip long before the season started. The thing that impresses me most, is his willingness to go to the net; more than I remember him doing in past seasons. And his stick-handling and passing have been an eye opener. Now, as was mentioned— he does disappear during the Playoffs, and until he doesn’t—that will always be a criticism. But right now, hes a vital piece of this team. If he can continue to score at the rate he is right now, when Zabenejad and Buchnevich come back—potentially–this team could be a real 3 line scoring threat. Wouldn’t that be something to see heading into the Spring.

  • “It’s almost as if he’s giving a giant middle finger to all the doubters.”

    Same could be said of Henrik.

  • Wish Kreiter would watch film on Nash driving to the net. Would be unbelievable to have 2 forwards with motor to the net!

  • Nash has continuously been a 2 way player, but this now more consistent power forward is icing on the cake!

    He showed this ‘Beast’ in the past, here and there, quietly having good games here and there, but there is something different about his rushes, like he just knows he can’t be stopped….

    its been great!

    Keep it up NASH!

  • Nash is a beast and has been a beast. His one downfall is the playoff production. He was one Voynov shaft of the stick away from Cup folklore. It’s a shame.

    • That play still makes me sick thinking about it. I will never forget the look on his face after that happened. That whole series we had great chances in OT to win. We hit the post in every one of them. Mac with the slap shot right off the post in his birthday no less. I could go on n on as I’m sure you can too.

      • I mean even a half an inch, it wold have been a goal. That’s the kind of bad luck Nash has had in the playoffs.

        • I agree, Ranger and Richter, but big-time sport at that level is always a half inch here and a half inch there. Ask Jeff Fisher; six inches more in the Super Bowl a few years ago and he’d be a Super Bowl winning coach, instead of being considered an abject loser. It’s the world we live in. Nash has to come up with one of those eight-week, 17-goals-in-24 games playoff runs in a Stanley Cup win to be remembered 30 years from now like Messier, etc.

          Now another injury. Great. They’ll need a big effort tonight tonight without him.

          Regards- orange

  • I just heard Nash will miss next game with a groin injury. Why is it we get injuries to guys that are playing great at the time. Zibanejad just started finding the net after a bunch of close ones and Buchnivech scored in 4 straight before he went out.

  • Great piece on Nash. He was my fav non-Ranger before joining the team so I was happy when they got him. Dang shame about the latest injury. Hopefully he’s back quickly. The way the offense has been lately they really can’t afford to lose him for even one game.

  • Nash, kreider, miller, vesey and grabner all drive effectively to the net……..Zib also at times…..
    Add zucc, hayes, buch, never seen a ranger team with so much firepower up and down the roster….
    add a young , aggressive, speedy 4 th line of lindberg, fast and hrivik or pirri —

    yup–stepan trade!

  • If you want an upgrade at 1RD, play Skjei there, call up Graves to be 3rd pair. Rotate Girardi/Klein on 3rd pair. No deal necessary.

    • Yep I have advocated for the Skjei to the top pair for a while now. Gets G off the top pair. G was awful on that 2nd Devs’ goal and is typical of his play these days.

      He was victimized on the 2nd hawks’ goal too last week. Funny how AV doesn’t see those “inefficient touches.”

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