Back on January 7th, Rick Nash, amidst a two goals in 11 games slump, admitted that he was spending too much time on the outside and needed to get inside to score goals.
Luckily for the Rangers and their fans, he took his own advice as he became much more aggressive driving to the net and getting to the dirty areas to make plays. Which not surprisingly led to a goal scoring binge including nine tallies in the next ten games.
Unfortunately, it looks like Nash has reverted back to his perimeter play the last five games as he's spent more time roaming near the sideboards than causing havoc in the crease.
And the result of this regression has been a pointless streak of five straight contests.
Similar to Derick Brassard's reluctance to the shoot the puck more often, Nash needs a reminder of how much more effective he is when he's using his size and strength to make plays with the puck instead of floating around the outside flicking harmless shots at the net.
Nash's inability to create his own offense is allowing defenses to play more straight up, which is making it difficult for his linemates, who have begun to struggle alongside of him, to find open ice.
And while Nash was acquired to score goals not set them up, his one assist in the last 22 games shows how little creativity he's displaying in the offensive end this season.
Making matters worse, Nash's frustration with his lack of scoring seemed to get the best of him last night as he took two ill-advised penalties, one of which led to a Penguins goal.
I've heard fans grumbling about Nash coasting the last few games in an effort to remain healthy for the Olympics, but I don't buy it. I think sometimes he can be aloof out on the ice (maybe from playing all those meaningless games in Columbus) and needs a prompting of how hard he needs to work to be successful in this league.
Let's hope he gets it in Sochi.
The match ups -responsibilities -80 game grind - team wins & production all go into the formula for ..."how much of the 100 % he has to offer does he go out & use on a given nite ....coasting -cruising nOt the right words .... a Top Tier elite hockey player is like the tides ebb& flow .....not gonna get his best on a nitely basis,guys like Cally have to go all out 100% or the dont make it or stay in league...big diff.
Playoffs : better be a different story ,thats where the monies made ...H e seems like he's getting primed physically to take over when he wants ...needs his spirit and talent to take over and DOMINATE ...like he can ,he is the most important part of Cally's trade coming ....he moves up the leader ladder on team along with Staal ..a thoroughbred who is past the injury bug and will get the rest now to step up & DOMINATE...
ALOT COMES FROM TRADES....
WE NEED THIS TO BE A V'S TEAM COMPLETELY
NEW LEADERSHIP ROLES COMING & NEEDED
CUP 13-14 season ...LETS HAVE A GREAT LUCKY HOT RUN....
CUP 14-15season TILL 18-19 season... 2cups and 1 final loss in between just to keep it real .............................GO RANGERS GO !!!!! 4 ever !!!!!!!
Nash is Nash.We've all seen we have a great streaky player.He is what he is.We've seen him being double teamed all the time.Still he goes on a streak.I think its obvious he needs another goal scorer on that line who can take the pressure away from him.But that player has to be picked carefully.A Thornton like player- or someone who can have chemistry with him and be a real good goalscorer.At some point this addition has to be made to the club.
I just don't understand how you can be blessed not only physically but talent wise and you don't take advantage of that. Nash is a big wuss just like Boyle.
That entire line has become relatively, the Rangers third line in effectiveness. Still say when Nash has to try to put it all on himself, carrying into the zone, trying to create his own chances, he is not as effective. He needs to dart into open space without the puck and finish off set-ups. And Kreider and Stepan haven't been able to do that. I think you'd need Nash to play with Brassard and Zuccarello to give him what he needs, just look at how they have meshed with Pouliot. But why break up other lines to do it? Stepan and Kreider need to open up the ice and they need to pick up their games as well, need all 4 lines playing well to go deep into the playoffs.
Haven't read all the comments, so this might have been mentioned, but from what I see Nash is really suffering from Step's play (or lack thereof). Step is really struggling, and as a center, his job is to open ice for his wingers...and he's simply not doing that (why Kreids & Nash) are not producing lately. Step is too slow to keep up with Nash & Kreids and he's rarely the guy entering the zone first, which is sometime essentially to set up plays. Does step strike fear in opposing teams? No...so they focus on Nash & Kreids. IMHO Nash & Kreids recent struggles have a lot to do with Step.
I know that if I had $7.8 M. invested in a star player that is this inconsistent, I would be trying to find out why. I was sort of o.k. with the Callahan to the Blues for Stewart rumor because I believe Nash needs a big body, tough center or winger to play with for him to excell (regarding his concussion history). Now, with the likelihood of NY signing both Callahan and Girardi, maybe its time to consider trading Nash along with buying out Richards for payroll flexibility.
As it has been pointed out previously by others NYR are going into a stretch of hockey where opponents will be more physical and more defensive (just like in the playoffs!) We will then see why Nash was traded and why no one pursued Richards with any vigor. They both will disappear at crunch time. I am also wondering if Step will be joining them.
It is all an act of the will. If a player will willfully choose to be strong on the puck....he will be. If he willfully chooses not to be ....he won't.............even my teen-agers know that! The desire to play that way comes first....then the new hockey behavior follows.....and that is when the new results show up. Always willful desire first....always!
It is a joy to watch Pouliot's new thinking about himself in action. He is now believing in himself and it shows. And thank you again betweentheworlds for pointing out Zucc's strengths when I had some doubt. He plays a big big man's game. I am able to pull in NYR games from all over the country and opposing analyst's just rave about him and to me that is the highest complement!
I remember there was one point in the game where he was carrying the puck into the zone and all I saw were four Penguins players converge on him and Step and Kreids were nowhere to be found. This was the first time I noticed this but I'd be interested in seeing if this has been happening for the last few games. If Nash is attracting four guys to him, Kreids and Step have to find an open space somewhere. Step is playing like a third line center while Kreids is a rookie so for the time being he gets a pass. Nash does have to play better himself and start crashing the net more, but that whole line needs a goddamn wake up call. It may be time to switch up that line with the Hags Richie Cally line as both aren't playing nearly as well as the Brass line and the DMoore line.
I don't think he's ever developed , being part of that malaise in Columbus stunted his growth and frankly he's never learned how to win. It's a travesty actually ..... Had Nash been "taught" in a system like Detroit's, he's probably be world class, but for 6-7 years he was just shouldering the franchise .....
Rick Nash will never be a great player.
He has every tool available to be a great player except between the ears . It's unusual ....he's less enigmatic than Kovalev, but so similar in how they CAN dominate, yet chose not too
I think he's avoiding injury for the Olympics, the contrast is too stark, unless he is injured which I don't believe. He's a great player but his tenure demonstrated he's more about Rick than the Rangers
Hes maybe 1 or 2 concussions away from a permanent head ache IMO. I also believe he is playing soft to avoid injury so that he can play in the olympics.
“With all things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the right one.”
― William of Ockham
Lets compare how he plays in the Olympics to how he plays with the Rangers. If he drives to the net and is consistent with it, then he is a little to comfortable playing on the Rangers and needs to be show film from the Olympics and asked why he can't do this for the Rangers. But I'm jumping too far ahead. Lets see his play first.
@TheNYRBlog Stepan & Nash are the two worst Olympians - If I'm Giroux and Okposo and Saad I'm pissed.
Nash is showing his streakiness (not sure who is more streaky him or gabby) and the fact that step has struggled all year hasn't helped. Kreider still has his moments, but is not consistent enough yet to carry the line. When Kreider is ON he is a beast and shows he is a big boy playing a power forward role - I can't wait to see him be that player every shift!!! Let's hope the Olympics jump start both Nash and step because if they continue their streaky more often than not ineffective play the Rangers are doomed.
@TheNYRBlog i think he will b fine, get him in the locker rm w Toews n Keith n all those other pro's pros and hope it all rubs off.
@TheNYRBlog Hated Nash's game last night, especially those two thoughtless penalties. Made the win all the more difficult.
@TheNYRBlog melo always had his best years after Olympics, being around those guys kicks him into gear..maybe the same will happen for nash
Can not agree more. Nash has become NAshless. He has forgotten he is a 6'4" power forward who is supposed to get his hands dirty. But it is not just him. Stepchild looks like he is totally lost on the ice. He could use a good benching. Real glad we did not dish out a 5 or 6 year contract to him. I feel bad for Kreider. He is the only player on that line who puts out every game.
@TheNYRBlog I love the guy, but he needs to stop trying to beat 3 guys with puck.
@TheNYRBlog He and Kreider getting beat up and worn out making up for the "piano on his back" Stepan.
@TheNYRBlog he had 2 really good scoring chanches that missed?
@TheNYRBlog maybe Brooks Orpik happened?
Being chosen by Team Canada seemed to give him some jump ..but now he's back to those weak spin a ramas rather than blowing around the D and crashing the net. Nash and Stephan should be paying some of their big bucks to Zucc for hockey lessons...BTW Kev,thanks for this blog..its one of the first things I check in the AM.
Agreed. Last year Step made everyone on his line better. This year it's the opposite and even if he played up to ability he's too slow for that line and probably would do his best work as a checking center who can score. Problem is we do not have a center for those 2 wingers right now.
@MikeBlue Every GM in the NHL knows this about Nash. Sather brought Nash to NY because of his Marque value as a "big name." So many people here forget that the last time Sather mentioned winning The Cup was at his first press conference years and years ago. He has not and never will talk winning the Cup....that would smack of accountability, wouldn't it?
Your point on centers....well we got 4 soft ones (not counting More)Perhaps Sather can strengthen center ice with free agency and a trade...perhaps.
Hey buddy, thanks for the shout out. I understand about will and desire, and being a small guy myself it was easy to root for Frodo and project his success at this level. Nash on the other hand simply pisses me off. I see what he good be, what he should be but something's got to jump start his passion. This guy could be a rugged 50 goal scorer if he wanted it bad enough. Damn!
@JoshKaye Good point here. What happens in the play you describe Step and Kreider are playing low in our zone to get the puck up to Nash so he either can break away or go one-on-one. Step and Kreider are simply too deep in our zone to catch up with Nash AND now as teams will play us more physical and more defensive that play will work less and less going forward and will totally disappear in the playoffs.
It is obviously a strength of Nash that opposing teams will turn into a weakness if Nash, as you pointed out, does not go back to crashing the net.
@BasesAreEmpty He's not creating. Drive, draw attention and dump it to open teammate.
Apples to oranges, cause the larger ice surface is going to greatly help Nash's game (he'a great one on one player and more ice means less defensive suffocation of him) and second, he'll probably have a much higher caliber center to play with (along with the other 3 guys on the ice) than he ever has with the NYR.
Bear in mind the larger ice surface will make a huge difference and give him more room .
I'd rather have an inconsistent Nash than an inconsistent Gabby any day. I'm glad we got rid of him when we did because he's worthless in Columbus. He should be the face of Johnson and Johnson band-aides.
What sucks is that he shouldn't need that motivation. $7.8 million should be enough to motivate him to play 100% every game
You could put some of that blame on Step.
@IMLazzaro @TheNYRBlogAnd two very terrible penalties, one of which could have cost them the game.
Honestly, points don't mean that much. I would rather have Step score no points but be able to open up things for a super fast winger (Kreids) and a super agile winger (Nash). Step is usually the guy trailing the play in the zone when he should be more often than not the first guy pushing the offense back and then dropping to his wingers, where they can really do damage. And step has a horrible shot with a very slow release so he's not a real threat to shoot so the opposition defends the two guys who do have good shots. From where I stand I've actually seen both Kreids and Nash attacking the net but they can't skate through 2-3 guys all the time. Step has great hockey IQ but he can't keep up with his line mates so it's like Kreids and Nash are always outnumbered.
A larger ice surface cannot hide a lack of determination or drive. We saw 2 completely different Nash players this year for a reason and I'd like to know why. Before announcement to the Olympics, conservative, no drive or determination almost like he was playing just for longevity in the game. After announcment, where the #&*$ did this guy come from... And I'm not going to be looking at Crosby giving him the perfect pass or one on one with a defencemen... his role is going to be down the middle because of his size and I want to see if he goes there and if he does, will he be doing it for the Rangers when he gets back.
I always liked Gabby. You could tell Torts was killing him, but he never complained. Tried to play Torts style, and he suffered for it (even if he had two 40 goal seasons) Also won't forget that Gabby played with an injured shoulder in the 2012 playoffs, was getting criticism from Torts about not shooting the puck enough (god knows how much pain it gave Gabby to shoot), yet Gabby never said anything to anyone until after the playoffs were over. Gabby was a lot tougher than a lot of people gave him credit for. (Carl Pavano he was not) Personally, I would have loved to have both Nash & Gabby here (Torts didn't use them well). I like Brass, but J Moore hasn't shown enough and neither has Dorsett...
@shoot_the_goalie @josh930@JMK8363 Holy Poops....I think I am going to cry....real tears I mean. Lemaire knew he could not win the CUP when Gabby was at The Wild. Columbus happily found out that Nash could put butts in seats (critical for a new franchise) but they could not win the Cup with him as a center piece. That is why we eventually landed both. Torts never wanted Gabby (poor Gabby!) Unless The Rangers can quickly develop, sign or trade for a center ice center piece we won't see THE CUP in NY for quite awhile.