AMBRÌ – There are many NHL players currently playing in the swiss NLA, but New York Rangers’ Rick Nash is for sure one of the most followed and anticipated. He already played for HC Davos in the 2004-2005 lockout, winning the swiss championship with his friend and teammate Joe Thornton, at that time captain of the Boston Bruins.
8 years later Rick Nash – 678 NHL games, 550 points all with the Columbus Blue Jackets and an olympic gold medal won in Vancouver in 2010 – came back to Davos to spent in Switzerland his “free time” due to another NHL lockout. Nash, after being at the center of a big trade move by New York that saw him becoming the missing piece in Rangers’ pursuit to the Stanley Cup, couldn’t make his debut as expected on October 12 in Los Angeles against the Kings. Instead, he’s trying to help Davos in a disappointing season start: the team was able to get only 11 points in 13 games (in Switzerland a victory gives you 3 points); despite that, Rick Nash and Joe Thornton are leaving their marks (again) on the swiss league. In fact, Rangers’ superstar scored 6 goals in 6 game, while the Captain of the San Jose Sharks is actually the top scorer of the team with 9 points in 10 games.
On October 13 Rick Nash was in Ambrì for the game between HC Ambrì Piotta and HC Davos; at the end of the game we had the amazing opportunity to talk with him for a couple of minutes: “Tonight we didn’t play our best game, it’s a tough lost. We absolutely need points, we are close to the last place, the situation where we are right now it’s of course disappointing”.
Rick Nash, do you think something changed in Davos since the last lockout?
“Well, obviously the players that I’m playing with have changed, but not much other then that. That’s because I think we got a lot of things that we have to fix, we got to be a lot better”.
How important was for you to know that also Joe Thornton was coming back to Davos?
“It’s great! He’s got family in Davos and we’ve become good friends over the years, so it was very important for me to know that he had the intention to play in Switzerland again during this NHL lockout”.
Thinking about yourself, how much Rick Nash changed since the last lockout? Do you consider yourself a different player?
“No, not really, maybe I’m just older, that’s it. Basically I’m the same player that already played in Switzerland a few years ago, I haven’t changed much”.
In Columbus you were the star and the face of the franchise… The next year you’re going to play in New York, what is going to change for you?
“It’s going to be fun to be with a team that as a good chance to make the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup. I love Columbus and I loved playing there but it was just time for my career to move on.
When you played in Lugano you got hurt. Someone from New York, maybe your teammates, called you to know if you were ok?
“Yes, sure. My teammates made sure I was ok… It wasn’t that bad or that serious, fortunately I was able to get back on the ice missing only a few games”.
What did the Rangers say when you told them that you were going to play in Davos? Did they try to change your mind?
“No, everyone in New York is happy for me and they support my decision to come here and play during the lockout”.
The last time you played in the Madison Square Garden, the chant from the crowd was “We don wan’t you!”…
“Now they have no choice, they must want me. I hope they will be happy to have me in the team, in New York there is a great fanbase. The fans at the MSG are great, I’ll be very excited to play there”.
Sooner or later you’ll play in Columbus as an opponent… What do you expect from your former fans in that occasion?
“I was there for ten years and we’ve been through a lot, a lot of losses and only one playoff series… So, we’ll see how they react. For me Columbus is my home now, a live there so hopefully they’ll give me a nice reception”.
You changed your gloves… You’re not wearing your Rangers’ glove anymore, this means that you think that the lockout will last the entire season?
“No… I mean, I don’t know. The only reason I changed is for team color, that is blue and gold in Davos. The red and blue just didn’t look good with the sweaters”.
Photos: Yvonne Leonardi (fotografa.ch)