If there’s one skater who deserves the Stanley Cup Playoff spotlight, it’s New York Rangers (power) forward Rick Nash.
By Nick Adams
Rick Nash is a dud. Even worse: he’s a playoff dud.
Or maybe he isn’t. Maybe we just can’t grasp the intricately patterned, highly nuanced philosophical approach he applies to being a professional hockey forward. Maybe he’s from K-PAX and is beyond all of us. Or maybe he’s in the CIA and just knows how to hide exceptionally well in plain sight. Or maybe he’s just misunderstood. Who knows?
What isn’t misunderstood is the fact that he’s just posted his worst season as an NHL-er. Nearly seven months ago (9/30/15), I wrote a piece here about how if the New York Rangers were going to be dominant in the Eastern Conference again, a major component to that success would be a necessarily strong season from Nash. I used terms like “offensive engine,” “dynamic energy,” and even tossed in “a few lucky breaks” for good measure. I was, in a word, optimistic.
There were three main things #61 needed to do this season that could to neutralize an essentially negative perception of his time as a Ranger: put in 100% effort for as much of 100% of the time as possible (his injury did not help there); sustain his performance gains with a second straight season of improved production (as he had in 2007-09), and; finally have a strong playoffs. None of that is unreasonable to expect from a guy with his capabilities and experience level.
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What we got from Nash this season was abominable. He posted 15G and 21A over 60GP. Four of those goals cam on two nights early in the season and one of them never even went into the net. Take those two games out of the equation and he potted 11G/58GP (.19GPG).
He can still turn in a top-notch performance in the playoffs and salvage something of this year, but if his past is used as an indicator, the odds of that happening are not good . Here are a couple of highlights from The Rick Nash show this year: