May 4, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) makes a save in front of New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) as Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) defends in the first period in game three of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 1-0, and lead the series 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Nash has once again struggled to score in the postseason, but he should not shoulder all the blame for the New York Rangers’ Round Two woes.
Yes, I know Rick Nash has struggled yet again for the New York Rangers in the postseason. Yes, I know he has looked like Peaked-In-High-School Rob Lowe during the playoffs. Yes, the Rangers offense has been putrid this postseason so far.
But, no, Nash is not the one who should take all the blame for the Rangers.
You all know the statistics by now, so lets get those out of the way early. In Nash’s three years as a Ranger, he has played in 46 playoff games, only registering a pathetic 5 goals and 21 points. Nash makes $7.8 million a year, and has come up small every time the Rangers have needed him to come up with a Toews-esque goal. At this point, we should stop holding our breaths for that.
However, some might point out that during last year’s playoff run, the Rangers had better depth and could overcome the disappearance of their best offensive player. This year, that is not happening do to a couple of different factors.
New York Rangers
First off, Mats Zuccarello, arguably the Rangers second or third most important forward, has missed every game in this series due to a suspected concussion. Zuccarello is on the opposite wing of Nash, and, because of his incredible playmaking skills, could get pucks to Nash that others just can’t. The loss of Zuccarello has had a significant ripple effect, as players from the second, third, and fourth line have been asked to assume larger roles.
Which leads me to my next point; Martin St. Louis might not be that good anymore. He has looked overmatched since coming back from a knee injury, and it might appear that St. Louis has lost a step. This happens to players as they get older, as one injury or tweak can lead to a big problem.
Lastly, Glen Sather deserves some blame for all of this as well. The Rangers let Anton Stralman walk in the offseason, and he has taken his puck-possession ways to a dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning team. Sather also refused to replenish the depth for the team by signing Tanner Glass to a terrible contract, trading away Lee Stempniak and Derek Dorsett and getting nothing in return, and refusing to call up some of the youngsters in the organization to play.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the Rangers as their season looked as bleak as the walk to the guillotine must have been. Nash definitely deserves some of the blame, but he should not become the scapegoat for the Rangers’ struggles.
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