Rangers Notebook: Rick Nash playing it safe with return

Rick Nash skated with his team for the first time since injury. Credit: Getty Images
Rick Nash has not played in over a month now.
Credit: Getty Images

Prudence has been the course charted for Rick Nash and the Rangers.

Both Nash and the organization are in agreement there will be no deviation from the prescribed course following a head injury, although his return to the lineup seems to be on the horizon.

When he met with the media prior to last night’s Garden match against the Devils, Alain Vigneault announced Nash will participate in today’s practice. Nash will skate as an extra defenseman — as Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin did when they were in the final stages of their recuperation from torn left labrum surgeries — until his conditioning is at game levels.

Nash was among a handful of players who participated in an optional skate Tuesday morning at the Garden.

“New York has invested a lot in me. I have invested a lot in them. So even if we were losing it would be stupid to rush back just because of that,” Nash told reporters. “It’s a long-term contract and we want to make sure — from both sides — that I come back at 110 percent and ready to play.”

He characterized himself as “a little slow, a little out of shape [but] the important part is [I] feel good otherwise,” following his fourth straight on-ice session. Nash hasn’t played since Oct. 8 due to concussion symptoms.

“It’s unfortunate the injury happened,” Nash said.

Learning lessons

Essentially, Vigneault used the first quarter of the season to learn about his team.

What he has learned so far was what he expected prior to the start of the season.

“We’re about where I expected,” Vigneault said. “Anybody coming into a situation [as a new coach and a new system], there’s going to be some growing pains. That’s what we’ve gone through and that’s what we’re going through.

“Trying to get better, we are getting better. We are going to continue to get better.”

The Rangers entered last night’s game having won three in a row, six of seven and seven of nine.

Biron to the booth

Tuesday night’s revival of the Devils-Rangers rivalry also marked former goaltender Martin Biron’s debut as an analyst for MSG Network.

Biron will offer pregame, in-game and postgame analysis for “select” games, along with appearing on Hockey Night Live, MSG Network announced in a statement Monday.

Since retiring from the NHL on Oct. 20, Biron has signed on with TSN and its French-language sister station, RDS, to be an analyst.

Stadium Series on sale

The NHL announced yesterday tickets for the Jan. 26 and Jan. 29 Stadium Series outdoor games at Yankee Stadium will go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.

The Rangers will be the visiting team for both games; the Devils the Jan. 26 game, while the Islanders are the home team on Jan. 29.

The league also released “Chrome Collection” team logos yesterday for the six teams that will play in the Stadium Series games. Jerseys for the games will be released shortly.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


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