Rangers Notebook: Nash skates, unsure of return date
Rick Nash skated today. When he next plays is yet to be determined.
Nash has missed the Rangers last three games — all losses — as he recuperated from an undisclosed injury leading to speculation that the left wing is suffering from either a concussion or a groin injury.
Despite missing the last three games, Nash still leads the Rangers with 12 points. His nine assists are tied with Brad Richards for the team lead, and his three goals are tied for fourth most with Derek Stepan and Taylor Pyatt.
The Rangers have not publicly announced what is ailing Nash, and head coach John Tortorella has stated he will not discuss injuries this season.
Following the early skate at the Rangers’ training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y., Nash told reporters he is “feeling good” but wasn’t sure if he would play against the Jets. The team announced two hours before the game that Nash, along with Arron Asham, Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh were ruled out.
“It’s a positive day for sure when you get back out and skate with the guys,” Nash said. “Obviously, I’ll talk to the trainers. But it was a good day to get a good skate in. I’ve been banged up quite a bit and obviously I just didn’t feel I could compete out there. After last week and today it’s definitely in the right direction and it’s a big positive.”
Coaches in every sport preach the importance of consistency.
That steadiness grows in consequence in an abbreviated season, especially for a team dealing with the weight of Stanley Cup expectations while being shorthanded due to injuries.
Enter the Rangers forward corps.
Tortorella believes the play of the forwards has been uneven through the first 17 games of the season.
“I don’t think they’re all there. I think if we can get just a little more consistency out of them minute-to-minute, I think it’s going to help,” Tortorella said before the game. “I think a lot of people will get out of a little bit of a funk.”
One such forward is Ryan Callahan. The Captain has five points (four goals and an assist) and a minus-4 rating in 14 games.
“He’s banged in a few power play goals. I think he has all of ours, doesn’t he?” Tortorella asked when asked by Metro New York for his thoughts on Callahan’s play.
Callahan has three of the Rangers’ seven power play goals this season. Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller and Taylor Pyatt are tied for second with one power play goal apiece.
The coach then added, “I don’t think his game is totally there.”
“You group our forwards in and he’s one of our top forwards,” Tortorella said. “We all know what Cally does. He does all the other things. Offensively I don’t think he’s completely [found] his game.”
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.