NHL Predictions: Why Rick Nash Will Put the New York Rangers over the Top
The taste of defeat. It is not a good taste at all, especially at the hands of one of your biggest rivals. The Rangers came up just short in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, losing in six games to the New Jersey Devils, their Hudson River rival.
After being eliminated, Rangers coach John Tortorella emphatically made it clear that his team was not tired, after having played all possible 14 games in the previous two rounds. Well coach, if they were not tired, then why didn't they make it to the Stanley Cup Final? The clear reason that the Rangers lost (everyone including their mothers know why) is because they simply could not put the puck to the back of the net.
The 2012-13 Rangers are a hungry team. They now know the taste of defeat. Even more importantly, they acquired Rick Nash. Join me as I take a look at why Rick Nash will put the Rangers over the top and help them in their quest for Lord Stanley's Cup.
One of the most overlooked qualities that players may possess is leadership. Nash had captained the Columbus Blue Jackets since 2008 before being traded to the Rangers. He joins a strong core of leaders in Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, and will have a strong presence in the locker room.
He will also serve as a mentor to young stud Chris Kreider, who may have put up five goals in the postseason, but has yet to play a single regular season game.
Any player who can put Henrik Lundqvist on his back with only the use of a deke, gets an "A" in my book. Nash is a proven goal scorer, having scored less than 30 goals in a season only twice, one being his rookie season.
Nash has the size, speed and ability to score lots of goals. What more can you ask for in a hockey player?
Shortly after being traded to the Rangers, Nash had the following to say to the New York media:
I wanted to play somewhere where I wanted to be, and my No. 1 priority was to be here, and I’m just happy it worked out. If I had to wait all summer to come here, then I would’ve.
The main thing was looking at the (Rangers), looking at what they did over the last couple of years, something that I loved to be a part of and to help them out. Hockey is truly a passion here, where they expect a championship-caliber team.
He's excited to be a Ranger! Along with excitement comes motivation. He has finally been given the opportunity to do what all young hockey players dream of, contend for the Stanley Cup. Let's hope that we'll all be raising our arms, like Nash is above, many times in the coming season.
Look at the Team Around Him
As stated in the previous slide, Nash has scored less than 30 goals only twice in his career. His whole career up to this point has been served with the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the NHL's bottom-feeding clubs. Simply put, that's pretty impressive to say the least.
He now joins the likes of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan, just three of the many players capable of bringing out the most in Nash.
Don't forget about the bench boss either. Since the departure of Ken Hitchcock in Columbus in 2010, Nash has not been pushed to perform at a high level and hasn't been used as much as he should be.
John Tortorella will change that. Coach Tortorella has a very simple method of coaching; you either buy in or get out. Nash will be pushed harder than he's ever been pushed before. Let's just hope Nash has strong shin bones if you know what I mean.