As concern mounts over the condition of Rick Nash, who did not accompany the Rangers to Ottawa for tonight’s opener of a two-game trip that concludes in Montreal on Saturday, so does coach John Tortorella’s concern over his club being “behind” as the 48-game season hits the one-third mark.
Nash, who missed Tuesday’s night’s 3-1 defeat at the Garden to Montreal, is believed to be suffering the after-effects of a blow he took from Milan Lucic in Boston a week ago in which his head was driven into the glass by the Bruins’ winger.
The Rangers, who have been studiously silent regarding the nature of Nash’s injury, did not rule out the possibility that No. 61 — who played two games in the immediate aftermath of the match in Boston — could join the team in Montreal.
Regardless, Tortorella made it clear that the club needs far more out of essentially every player on the roster whether or not Nash is in the lineup. The coach also said he is going adjust his philosophy of prioritizing rest and replenishment ahead of practice time.
“I think we’re behind, quite honestly,” Tortorella said after a comparatively lengthy, up-tempo practice at the club’s training facility. “Pace and mindset are two things in which we’re behind.
“I think pace has to come with practice. We’re going to need to practice a little longer and a little quicker more than I thought we’d need to a couple of weeks ago. I’ve had to adjust.”
Marian Gaborik moved into Nash’s slot on first-line right wing with Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin on Tuesday, and was praised by Tortorella for his performance. Chris Kreider, sent to the AHL Whale last Friday only to be recalled the following day when alarm bells began to ring about Nash, will remain in the lineup tonight, presumably again on the left with Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan.
“Everybody has injuries. You have to play through them,” Tortorella said. “Nash has been a big part of our team, he’s a very good player, but he’s out.
Rangers hope Nash returns on Sat.
New York Post | Feb 21