Read: Rick Nash’s Comments Today

Rick NashRick Nash will play the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight for the first time since he was traded in July of 2012.

Nash spoke with the media today prior to the game and said (Rangers):

  • On not being able to play in Columbus, “it would have been fun to go but now that they are in the same division I am sure we will be able to do that. It was unfortunate that I didn’t get to go.”
  • On Brandon Dubinsky saying he was traded because NY like flash, “I can’t comment on his comments but for me, I know he has gone to a great city, good organization and I was happy to become a Ranger. It was a dream of mine to play for an Original Six and live in New York City. It’s all positive.”

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Read: Rick Nash Is Happy With How Supportive The Rangers Were Of Him During His Concussion

Rick NashIn the NY Post, Rick Nash spoke with Larry Brooks about his recovery from his concussion and Nash said that a big part of his rehab and recovery was knowing that the organization was so supportive of him taking his time and going at his own pace.

Nash said that he is confident that he is healthy, that all angles were covered and that all of the questions he had were answered .

For more on Nash’s concussion, CLICK HERE.

Rick Nash

Read: Rick Nash Felt Challenged By Alain Vigneault

Earlier this week, Alain Vigneault talked about how he needed his top players, his core players and leaders, to step up and start producing consistently.

One player who was likely not being target by Vigneualt’s comments was Rick Nash.

Nash has goals in four of his last five and six points in those five games, yet he told the NY Post that he took Vigneault’s comments personally. He added that he has always been part of the leadership group wherever he has been and wants to to lead by example on the ice.

Being a leader, Nash says, is a big part of his role with the Rangers.

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Watch: The First Goal The Rangers Scored Tonight

Derek Stepan told John Giannone after the game, “”as a group you talk about what you want to do when the team is forechecking. We just try to come with a lot of speed. It was a fortunate bounce to get over to Nash. I would like to take a lot of credit for it but I am just trying to get it to the outside and get it to Nasher.”

Image: The Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Rick Nash Line

Stepan Line

Following the game, on MSG, Rick Nash was asked by John Giannone about why this line worked so well. Nash said, “It’s tough to put your finger on one thing, it just seemed like there was a lot of open room. I think Kreids backs people off with his speed, Step is so good at both ends of the rink that it allows both wingers to cheat more offensively.”

Read: Brad Richards and Rick Nash Feel More Comfortable Together

Rick NashRick Nash said that last year, following the lockout, he and Richards tried to force success and it didn’t work. Now, Nash says that things have started to come much more naturally to him and Richards and things are just happening on the ice.

Richards said that there is a much different feel this time around when he plays with Nash.

In speaking with the NY Post, Richards took a lot of the blame for their struggles last year, saying that he himself was struggling and that he tried to force the puck to Nash which is “completely counter productive.”

Read: The Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Rick Nash Line

Ryan CallahanThe line of Brad Richards, between Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan, has only one goal between them since Nash returned to the lineup last Tuesday and none at even strength.

The trio has combined for 60 shot attempts in the three games and 31 on goal.

In the three games they played together, the Rangers had the following percentage of shot attempts when they were on the ice at even strength:

  • Nashville: 75% of the time
  • Dallas: 43%
  • Boston: 57%

Callahan told the Daily News that the line is “close” and that it’s only a matter of time before things start to “open up” for the Rangers.

In the NY Post, Nash and Richards spoke about how much better they feel when playing together this season than when they did last season.

Adam Rotter: There would be concern if the trio wasn’t getting chances when they were on the ice, but they are and they have looked good since being put together. As Nash continues to get better and Callahan, who only has two goals since returning from his broken thumb, finds his stride, the line will start to score. Richards, who is pointless in four games and only has one goal this month, is shooting the puck and creating chances but needs to convert. One of these games coming up will see the line breakout and hopefully get them going on a consistent basis .

Read: The Need To Protect Rick Nash At All Costs/How Nash Feels About Headshots

Rick NashIn the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes that it’s incumbent upon the Rangers to have their players protect Rick Nash and retaliate properly if he is hit.

Brooks says that the players need to play with the mindset that a “blow delivered against Nash is tantamount to a strike against the Rangers franchise itself.”

He adds that the Rangers must adopt the mentality that Marty McSorely played with when he was with Wayne Gretzky, that any player on the ice with Gretzky has to be willing to take a game misconduct at any time.

Brian Boyle told John Giannone before the game yesterday that all of the Rangers need to protect each other.

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Stats/Watch: Rick Nash’s Game Last Night/His First Goal Of The Season

Nash played 15:34 last night with 2 shots on goal, 1 that missed the net and 6 that were blocked. Nash was also stopped on a penalty shot.  

12:10PM: Doug MacLean said on Hockey Central at Noon, about Nash on Team Canada, “No question whether he would be on the team from a making it point of view. Rick Nash is on the team. I am obviously biased…”