Jan 21, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) skates the puck against the New York Islanders during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers : Has Sochi Selection Affected Rick Nash?

Jan 19, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) reacts after being named the star of the game against the Washington Capitals during their hockey game at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

In the playoffs of May 2013, New York Rangers forward Rick Nash went through the first round against the Washington Capitals without a goal. He did not score his first until the second round against the Boston Bruins. Other than that, Nash did not produce much for a team that desperately needed him to. In other words, he did not rise up the occasion and left his team in dire straits, which is just one of the many disappointing reasons why the Rangers were knocked out in five games.

So far throughout 2013-14, Nash has 25 points in 35 games played (17 games missed due to a concussion). Approximately two weeks ago, Team Canada made their selections for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The automatic selections were obvious like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, etc. But the one guy that was on the team that shocked many pundits and analysts was Nash. People were puzzled about why Canada would select him despite his average (at best) numbers on the year.

It looks as though Canada has made the right decision taking the tough left-winger however. Since he was informed of his selection to the Canadian roster, Nash has seven goals in eight games, including two consecutive two goal performances (1/19 vs Washington, 1/21 vs Islanders). He looks to finally be living up the money the Rangers are currently paying him, and he is also showing the Canadian brass that he might be able to lead his country to a gold medal in Russia.

A question that I have seen posted many times on social media outlets is; “Does Nash care more for Canada than he does for the Rangers?” This is an interesting question to say the least.

It is certainly intriguing that since the roster selection, Nash has lit up the score-sheet, and before the selection, he was on and off, scoring a goal here and there, but wasn’t really living up to his abilities. When he puts on the Rangers’ jersey, does he get the same feelings as when he puts on Canada’s?

The argument I can pose for Nash is that anytime you get to represent your country in a major sport at the Olympics, it is definitely something special and a moment no player will ever forget. It’s a time where a star can really shine on the world stage and show people what he is truly made of.

A gold medal at the Olympics is a sweet feeling for any country, but winning the Stanley Cup, possibly the hardest trophy to win in sports, is sweet if not sweeter than taking home top honors at an international competition.

Notable players were left off of Canada’s roster like James Neal, Logan Couture, and Claude Giroux, just to name a few. In case you were wondering, Canada can build a second roster of all-snubs that can easily compete for gold.

Those players mentioned could have easily been chosen over Nash, but instead they took a shot in the dark and went with the Rangers forward.

To me, it is surprising that Nash’s numbers have much improved since his selection. It makes people around the team and fanbase wonder just what the selection meant to Nash and if the improvement in his offensive game is to make sure he is ready to hit the mark in Sochi.

If you believe that to be true, you must be left to ponder a second question. Where is that motivation when he dons the red, white and blue of an organization that pays him tons of money to lead them to the promised land?

Make your voice heard below in the poll, use the comments section, or chat with me on twitter: @a_graz24!

Does Nash care more about Team Canada than the Rangers?

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Tags: National Hockey League New York Rangers Olympics Rick Nash

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