Apr 30, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Daniel Carcillo (13) celebrates scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Nash Can Not Save The Rangers


During the 2013 playoffs, the Rangers struggled to compete at a high level. Then head coach, John Tortorella, did the unthinkable. After slowly whittling Brad Richards‘ ice time down to almost nothing, Tortorella benched the veteran for other players. The fan base was outraged. Screaming for General Manager, Glen Sather to do something about this mockery. It just wasn’t the right thing to do in the eyes of all those people in the stands and watching on TV who clearly knew more about what to do than the Rangers’ staff. As it turned out, Richards ended up being benched only two games before the team was eliminated.

February 2, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Rangers forward Rick Nash (61) celebrates scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning as forward Brad Richards (19) cheers in the background at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

On the rational side of things, Tortorella made the right choice. He just made the choice far too late for it to help his team. Few can say that Richards played to his full potential or skill level last year; blame it on the lockout if it makes you feel better. The thing is, Brad Richards still isn’t playing with any type of consistency and definitely is not playing as though he is a top six player. None of the top six are playing as such. So what does Alain Vigneault do now that he is rapidly approaching an early exit from the post season?

Remember at the beginning of the season when Vigneault benched Mats Zuccarello for a game? Remember how unhappy he was about not playing in that one game? He came back from that game out and really lit up the rink. All season Zuccarello has been the go to player for the Rangers.  Now everyone calm down, I’m not saying Zuccarello needs to be benched again. There is another player on the team who seems to only play well when he feels compelled to up his game for personal reasons.

Remember that one game this season in Columbus when Rick Nash actually “took the body” and played a really great game? Nash had seven shots on goal and even scored one, he got the winning shoot out goal for the Rangers as well. He totaled nine penalties in minutes and registered 19:28 in ice time. Yeah, that’s the one. He just returned from his concussion and was an absolute monster on the ice; it was great. If you weren’t in a state of shock that left your jaw on the floor during that one, you don’t watch much Rangers hockey. In 10 games this post season Nash has four points; assists only. Those four assists came early in the Rangers’ series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Without any points against the Penguins, Nash is also a -1 in goal differential. Some fans say, “He’s had some good looks.” This is true but as an “Elite Goal Scorer” his job is to get the puck in the net. At nearly eight million dollars each year, he’s getting paid to do more than get good looks. To put his paycheck in perspective for you, he’s making almost a full million dollars more than Henrik Lundqvist this season.

It’s not as if Nash is just in a slump or having an off-year either. Last year Nash had one goal and four assists in 12 playoff

games. In 2008-09 Nash tallied one goal and two assists in four games as a Blue Jacket. Those numbers are not impressive by any standards. It’s also not as if Nash is a physical player nor does he help with face-offs.  At this point, Nash is being out scored by Daniel Carcillo, two goals in five games. J.T. Miller has two assists in three games and Jesper Fast has an assist in his three games. Fast and Miller both add speed to the team that Nash doesn’t seem to be adding and they are playing to stay with the team and not sitting in the press box or back to the AHL.

Maybe sitting Nash for a game in favor of, dare I say it, Carcillo would be a good idea. Give him a reason to fight for ice time. It’s nothing he’s ever had to do before. He’s like a little kid whose parents gave them everything he ever asked for so he never appreciated any of it. If he is serious about playing and winning, he will step up his game and fight to get back on the ice. If he’s not serious, we will see a broken Nash who plays for a paycheck and nothing more. What does the team have to lose now? They are staring down the barrel of a gun called elimination. It’s a shot-gun loaded with buck shot so it won’t be a pleasant feeling when the round is released. The time to act is now, before it’s too late.

Tags: Brad Richards Featured Mats Zuccarello New York Rangers Popular Rick Nash

  • Matt

    What concussion? He returned waaay earlier than that from the concussion. He returned in mid November against Boston from that concussion against San Jose. Fact check please.

  • Matt

    Another thing, yes Rick Nash should score. But so should Marty St. Louis, so should Carl Hagelin, so should this guy and the next. Rick Nash should not be the scapegoat of this team, like you and many of the clueless fans who pretend to like the Rangers do. There are many that need to step up, the first line with him, Stepan, and St. Louis should score.

    If the Zucc-Brass-Pouliot line is our “best” line as many media members claim they need to score more as well. Do not just blame Nash where this whole team is to blame for their lack of scoring. Their lack of execution. This whole team needs to be put on blast.

    Put lets blame the guy who makes the most. Which in that case, shouldn’t you be blaming Lundqvist for not saving everything?

    Stop.

  • Matt

    One last thing, funny how the URL to this article has “can” but the title of the article has “can’t” guess you can’t make up your mind.

    • http://www.bluelinestation.com/ PuckDani

      First- The game against Columbus was Nash’s first game there since the trade. He missed the previous visit due to his concussion.

      Second- Rick Nash is paid to score. End of story. He is touted and labeled an “Elite Goal Scorer” for a reason, that reason has yet to surface in his playoff career. Yes, all players need to score when they are on the ice. No other player on the roster makes the money Nash does, NOT EVEN HENRIK LUNDQVIST. Hank’s contract pays him 6.75million fact check that. I’ll wait… Clueless fan eh? Not even close, I know more about the NHL than you can even fathom.

      Nash raked in seven point eight million dollars this season for what? Good looks at the net? His 3 on 1 break away tonight was a great effort . You don’t have to agree with the Zucc-Brass-Pouliot line being the best for the Rangers, but if you find another line on the team with as many combined hits, goals, assists, and blocked shots then I will say you are correct. But here’s a clue for you, there isn’t one. Marty St. Louis is stuck on a line with Brad Richards… Let that sink in a bit. Richards should be gone after this season, no questions asked. If you don’t understand why, go read the CBA.

      Third- for those who don’t know how automated URL generation works, not every word in a title is used. An URL is assigned based on main or “key” words where common words such as a, the, an, not, or, and the like are omitted in order to make the assigned URL appropriately concise so internet servers can handle the charters within limits. Please feel free to ask me for further clarifications on the parts that went over your head.

      • Matt

        First – That should of been clearer in the article. Just take time and read what you write before posting it.

        Second – I don’t think shitting on one player is the right thing to do. It’s a team effort, and if the team isn’t contributing, then there’s problems. Yes, Nash is paid to score. Yes, Nash is touted as an elite goal scorer. And yes, Nash should be playing better. But so should the rest of the team. This is the exact same thing that hurt this team in previous years before Nash was on the team. And that’s a problem that Glen Sather has never fully addressed. It’s embarrassing watching the team go in the playoffs, and then fucking run out of gas.

        Yes, I know why Brad Richards will be bought out, I’m not some fucking doof retard like half the writers on this site are.

        Third – Yes, I get it, I was just poking fun. I found it funny, I chuckled. Just like I did when I read this article. Dan Carcillo did wonderful last night too, eh?

  • Pivot

    Nash played 1 game in Columbus and 1 games against the Jackets at the Garden. 1 of the games at the garden a 4-2L on December 12th. In 22:51 TOI Nash had zero shots on goal and was a -2 for the game. Nash had 13 games since returning from injury. I have to assume that isn’t the game you’re referring to. On Jan 6th at the Garden Nash played 19:28 TOI with 2 Goals and had 5 SOG with a +1 rating. The game I think you’re thinking of was on March 21st in Columbus. It was probably the best game Nash has played as a Ranger without registering a single point! He was engaged in the game and even spent 9 PIMs in the box. He had 7 SOG and an even rating in that tilt. No he didn’t score but if we had that Rick Nash in these playoffs, we would be unstoppable. This team would be all pulling the same rope. This team on paper can go goal for goal with Pittsburgh and they are certainly the better defensive team. Nash didn’t score a goal in Columbus (He was still hurt the first game in Columbus between the two teams) but that is the player we need him to be. Maybe having Kreider back will help. He has to be oozing with hate for the Pens right now watching this series go on from the press box.