It's no secret that it's been a rough season for Rick Nash. He suffered a debilitating concussion in the third game of the season and has been unable to discover the scoring touch that Rangers brass thought would get them over the hump when they traded valuable assets to acquire him from Columbus.
However, over the last six games, Nash has slowly begun to resemble his old self. He's using his big frame to open up space and win puck battles. He's moving his legs to beat defenders and create offense. And it's showing up on the scoresheet with 3g, 1a in those games.
The one thing Nash still isn't doing with regularity is going hard to the net. As proved by Carl Hagelin's game winner last night, when you drive to the crease, good things happen.
One encouraging sign is that Nash is at least acknowledging he must be more aggressive (via New York Post)...
"I’ve been spending too much time on the outside...Sometimes in the big picture you think that you’re effective on the outside, but I have to get to the inside and I know that. I know what I need to do here.”
...why would Nash ever think he's effective on the outside? His big body screams for him to drive to the net everytime he's in the offensive end whether he has the puck or not. Unless this is just an excuse for his concussion concerns.
...now that Nash has identified the problem, it's time for him to make the proper adjustments. There's not many defenders in the league with the size to shut Nash down when he's being assertive and confident down low. Not only will he put himself in better position to score, he'll open up more ice for his linemates.
...i have to put some of the blame for Nash's passiveness on AV. There's no way at this point in the season Nash should still be thinking he's effective on the outside. Vigneault should have been brainwashing Nash into a creasing crashing machine for the last month by showing him this video on loop ala A Clockwork Orange...
...it's no surprise that the Rangers turnaround has coincided with Nash's improved play. Having said that, it's still not enough from the Olympian. He needs to not only start dominating games, but raise the play of everyone around him. Unless he's able to find consistent offense, the Rangers are going to have a tough time qualifying for the playoffs.
Wouldn't it be nice if the Rangers actually had someone that would stick up for him if he was getting pounded in front of the net. Remember at the beginning when Nash was playing enforcer as well for a few games?
AV said before the season he was going to use Nash in the trenches to screen goalies and real havoc. I'll take this quote as his way of saying he feels good enough and confident enough to start playing NHL hockey again, and when he does he's hard to stop. Nice talk Nashty. Time to walk the walk.
There has obviously been something wrong with Nash this year and all the ones saying that he sucks and is a buyout candidate are completely ridiculous. A few stats: last year Nash hits per 60 minutes was 3.1, this year it's 0.6 per 60 minutes! Nash career shooting % is 12.5, this year 8.3 (last year 11.9). With that said, Nash hasnt been the same player and hasnt been nearly the player that the Rangers need him to be but there is more to it than he sucks and is soft. It is also a fair question to ask if he will ever get back to the player he has been his entire career before the concussions ( I think he can be) but labeling him soft and simplifying the situation simply to 'he sucks' is completely unfair to the player.
Here's the problem with Nash. He knows full well that one more serious concussion will most likely end his career or at the very least severely hamper it going forward. With this in the back of his mind it's no surprise that's he's been more cautious on the ice, and honestly, I don't blame him. The bottom line is Nash is now damaged goods. He's going to be more passive or he's going to get another concussion. It's a shame really because he is the exact kind of player we need to get to the next level.
He's looked a hell of a lot better the past few games. If he can start practicing what he's preaching and starts putting some pucks in the back of the net, the Rangers will be a scary team to play against down the stretch.
i think he has concussion fears. He was out at the end of last season with it and had one early this season. he doesnt want to go hard to the net because thats where he gets knocked around. once he gets past that, he will regain the touch and confidence.
@TheNYRBlog Look like he's getting a little more confident and willing to take a hit, multiple concussions made him understandably cautious.
You really think AV has been telling Nash to stay to the out side??? Come on now. There's not a coach in this or any other league that doesn't tell their players to go to the net. Sounds like Nash is trying to convince himself to drink the water AV and the other coaches were leading him to.
Real simple: he was afraid of playing inside because he didn't want to suffer a third concussion in a calendar year. Looks like he's slowly getting out of that mindset.
@_JackI so just tweeted that out.
@kevin11 .... But fact is, he is playing soft, regardless of the reason....
Here is the ironic thing: Didn't Nash GET INJURED while playing on THE OUTSIDE? I cant recall, but I thought he was slammed in the boards while ON THE OUTSIDE.... Has Nash ever been hurt playing strong on the inside? Someone might want to remind him about this.
Nash is a MONSTER on the inside, where he plays a strong game and rarely gets hurt moving his legs and bulldozing towards the net.
While that's true, it has nothing to do with the psychology of cautious play.
Snot Man... EXACTLY!!!!! Nash got hurt on the outside... NOT on the inside, right? So he should stay safe and strong and successful on the INSIDE.
@Snot-BubblerThat's actually a great point.
Hahahahaha.... IRONICALLY, Nash does NOT get hurt going hard to the net... He gets hurt "on the outside" where he is awkward, slow and exposed....
It was obvious something was wrong....to say AV isn't at fault for some reason or another is wrong...... a coach should know his players. .. and key in when something is wrong...i saw this and I am not a paid professional coach But I am knowledgeable and observant....
@gravey94Not at all, but he hasn't been doing a good enough job motivating Nash to go to the net.
Yes, yes.... but it just occurred to me, that NASH GOT HURT PLAYING ON THE OUTSIDE, so it stands to reason, that he should go back to his old inside game, where he is more confident and safer.... for Nash, inside is safer.... he needs a soothsayer to remind him of this!!!! lols
@TheWrage As Brooks pointed out in his piece, Nash scored five goals in his first nine games back from the concussion. Most of which were in the tough areas.
I accidentally found it after searching (to no avail) for that play when he took a HUGE hit at the blueline in order to make a sweet pass to a Ranger who eventually scored. It was after his concussion return. I don't remember the game or goal scorer (someone here must).
I thought I'd use it as Exhibit A for evidence proving he wasn't playing scared.
@mando24179There's no place for that on this blog.
So what does AV do, bench Nash until he gets over his fear of having a career ending concussion? Is he supposed to put him on skates in the middle of the West Side Highway at rush hour until he gets over his fear? Seriously. This is not motivating a guy like Pouliot who has talent but wan't using it. You're asking him to somehow get a guy to forget that the next hit to his head could be the end of his career. AV is giving him the rope, Nash needs to use it to either climb or hang himself.
@Kevin DeLury@gravey94A coach doesn't motivate players....... a coach inspires and the coach's inspiration ignites the inner motivation of the player if and only if the player WILLFULLY ACCEPTS the coach's inspiration.
Nash has never been the kind of player that most on this site think we acquired in a trade. He never went to the net with CBJ. He does not create ice he simply takes the ice that the opposition gives him.....that is the story of his thinking on how he should play the game.
If he changes his game and becomes "this imaginary beast" than he must first change the way he thinks about his game before he can change the way he plays his new game. It is a simple yet powerful shift for Nash to make and a very difficult one, for sure. It takes a coach to inspire that kind of change! and it requires a pure act of the will on the part of the player to execute on it. The challenge for Nash is he has to move away from a style of play (a style that has garnered him a ton of acclaim in the past) and embrace a new style of play that has never given him an ounce of acclaim because he never played that way before. For him like the rest of us mere mortals change is filled with uncertainty.And most of us resist it.
Very often we forget that an entire franchise gave up on Nash......why?????
Please note there is no historical evidence that AV can inspire that kind of change in a hockey player. Canucks played a soft up tempo game that worked well for a while. When enough Western Conference teams (due to Cap restrictions) began to win with a more hard-nosed 2-way game....AV was booted out and "the guy who lost the locker room" was IMMEDIATELY brought in. Does AV inspire you?
How do you know, have you been there? Just because Nash hasn't done doesn't mean it falls on AV. He's given Nash an average of 18 1/2 minutes per game for the past month. He's giving him every chance to turn it around, since Nash is the only one that can do that. Not sure what else you expect AV to do? He could say he sucks to the media, but I don't think that works well ;-)
You do realize that consciousness is not belief, right? And belief is not behavior, right? You oversimplify how someone who has experienced trauma changes his behavior. The "facts" you are stuck on are pointless here. What matters is the unconscious psychological fact of his fear.
That's just one play, and maybe he got dazed just enough to realize his vulnerabilities level to another concussion was high. He clearly has been avoiding confrontation. As of late he's been testing himself a bit more. Hopefully he's ready to go full on now.
@scoop and slam lols..... from time to time... troupble is, now he makes his living from the outside, where he is tentative, useless and exposed..... ironic, isn't it?
you will soon learn the way of The Force young Luke
If he is so scared, he should retire.... You can't go on playing tentative, especially when your VALUE is playing aggressively down the middle.... I empathize with him, so if he feels fear, either overcome it, or retire.
Because Crosby was still experiencing physical concussion symptoms, Nash is not.
that's exactly what u do... If Pitt can do it to Crosby and sit h for most of a season. ...till the following season. Why can't the rangers sit nash?
Wait, what??? An entire franchise gave up on Nash?? He played 9 seasons for them making the playoffs once and getting swept out of the 1st round. The rest of the time they finished no higher than 11th, while he put up over 500 points. HE requested the trade, he was not run out of town. And nobody's asking him to become Alex Ovechkin. The problem is Rick Nash used to drive to the net with the puck, which he does not do now. Likely, it's due to injury fear, but the fact is none of us know. HE needs to figure it out for himself.
Ah, but there's the rub. Putting a physically healthy player on IR because of a problem between the ears would likely de-motivate them more than inspire them. I think he's doing the right thing by giving Nash the minutes to work this out himself and coaching him in between games.
Hotfreak...... you don't make any sense whatsoever.... I like your hockey comments, but when you drift beyond that subject you are totally lost.
@Hotfreak@JoeyKocurWell said......And as long as his own denial keeps him totally unconscious about his own fear....his own fear will continue to drive/motivate his fearful hockey play and he and The Rangers will continue to get the same fearful results.
So much of the behavior of all of us is driven by unconscious fearful negative thoughts....Nash included. It wasn't until years after Theo's retirement did he then consciously realize how his alcohol and drug abuse was driven by his then unconscious rage he held against "the hockey professionals" who abused him.