Tag: Rick Nash


Vigneault defends Nash, but realizes they need more


The New York Rangers have been able to get this far while averaging just two goals per game, but just because they’ve been able to do that doesn’t mean its ideal or will continue to work going forward. The Tampa Bay Lightning handed the Rangers their first blowout loss of the 2015 playoffs Monday night and it remains to be seen if the Rangers can respond.

They’ve had great goaltending and Monday’s loss aside, the Rangers’ defense has been an asset. But some of their forwards haven’t been getting the job done with the puck and no one exemplifies that more than Rick Nash. After scoring 42 markers in the regular season, he has just two goals and seven points in 14 playoff contests. Combine that with his offensive struggles in 2013 and questions are being raised about his ability to produce when the stakes are raised.

NBC’s Keith Jones put it bluntly on Monday:

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault continues to defend his star player, but that doesn’t mean he thinks the Rangers can get by with the status quo from Nash in terms of production.

“I mean, again, he’s working extremely hard,” Vigneault said, per the Bergen Record. “He’s getting physically involved. He’s getting some looks. Would I like him to finish on some of those looks? Yes. Do we need him to finish on those looks? Probably, yes. He knows that.”

Vigneault went on to emphasize that it’s not just Nash that they need more out of and that was certainly the case on Monday. Still, a breakout night from Nash would likely go a long way towards tipping the Eastern Conference Final in the Rangers’ favor.

Game 3 will air on NBCSN and is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight.

Report: Foligno will be new Blue Jackets captain

Columbus Blue Jackets v Boston Bruins

On Wednesday, Columbus will reportedly confirm what’s been rumored for a while — that Nick Foligno will become the sixth captain in franchise history.

Foligno, 27, will receive the “C” following a great campaign which he scored a career-best 73 points, signed a six-year, $33 million extension and was named a captain for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game — an event that Columbus hosted, and during which Foligno emerged as one of the faces of the franchise.

Columbus has been without a captain since Rick Nash exited the organization three years ago. Prior to Nash, the leadership mantle was carried by Adam Foote (2005-08), Luke Richardson (2003-05), Ray Whitney (2002-03) and the club’s inaugural captain, Lyle Odelein (2000-02).

As for alternate captains — the Columbus Dispatch, which broke news of Foligno’s captaincy late Tuesday afternoon, reports that as many as four could be named, but might not be revealed until the fall. Candidates for the “A’s” will likely include Boone Jenner, Scott Hartnell, Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson. Ryan Johansen, the club’s leading scorer and arguably best player, could also warrant consideration though it remains unclear how he’s viewed in a leadership capacity after his tumultuous contract negotiation from last fall.

St. Louis regains top-line spot with Rangers (Update: Nope)

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Four

As interesting a story as Martin St. Louis facing his former team the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs for the first time may be, it won’t be as intriguing if the veteran winger is buried on the third or fourth line.

The 39-year-old found himself off the New York Rangers’ first line for a small chunk of Game 7’s overtime win against the Washington Capitals, but the Bergen Record reports that he’s back with Derick Brassard and Rick Nash.

For now, at least.

St. Louis only has four points in 12 playoff contests so far, a significant slump for a player with 87 points in 100 career postseason games. Still, he believes he’s had some strong moments, especially in the first few games against the Capitals.

“I thought I played some good hockey early on in that series but didn’t get rewarded,” St. Louis said. “Of course, coaches make decisions at key times in the game for whatever reason and I’ve never liked being left on the bench at certain times. But that’s reality. If I liked it, I don’t think I would be here today.”

Between the third period and overtime of Game 7, St. Louis only received about four of his 15 minutes of ice time, as J.T. Miller took his first-line spot. It sounds like St. Louis will get a chance to regain his standing on the top line, yet it’s a situation to watch.

It could be that much more interesting if St. Louis does get demoted, as the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard discusses:

The question if Vigneault reshuffles his lines is where else St. Louis would fit. Dominic Moore’s bump into the top nine with Hagelin and Hayes has helped the forecheck immensely. Stepan’s line with Kreider and Jesper Fast had 13 points against the Caps. St. Louis is not a fourth-line player. It might seem safer to add an offensive element to the fourth line against Tampa than it would have been against Washington, but don’t let this matchup fool you. The Rangers want to make use of their speed, sure, but they don’t want to turn this into a track meet and give the Lightning turnovers in the neutral zone.

Update: St. Louis did not begin the game on the first line.

More on Marty

He won’t be sentimental facing the Bolts

Martin St. Louis wants to retire as a Ranger