Skip to content

Rick Nash has yet to don his big boy pants

May 6, 2014, 12:48 PM EDT

New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens Getty Images

Prior to Monday’s Game 3 loss to the Penguins, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault called out his top players by saying they needed to put on their “big boy pants,” much like how Pittsburgh’s stars had done.

And then Rick Nash proceeded to go goalless for the 10th straight playoff game.

In what’s becoming a major problem for the Blueshirts — or already is one, depending on your comfort level — Nash’s offense has been completely absent and there are few signs it’s about to come around. In the last two losses, he’s managed to put just seven shots on goal (and, tellingly, played a playoff-low 15:30 in Game 2); in Game 3, his Corsi (50 percent) and relative Corsi (-12.3 percent) were the fourth-lowest among all Rangers skaters — and this came in a game where the Blueshirts outshot Pittsburgh by a decidedly large margin (35-15).

Prior to Monday’s defeat, Nash said his efforts this postseason simply weren’t enough.

“It’s disappointing that I can’t help the team win,” he sad, per the Toronto Sun. “If you are not scoring goals, you help in other ways. But it is definitely frustrating not being able to score.”

Even more frustrating? Nash’s lack of postseason production isn’t isolated to this season.

The 29-year-old’s played 22 playoff games for New York and scored a grand total of one goal, which came during a Game 2 loss to Boston in last year’s second round. Nash bookended that goal with a pair of ugly slumps: an eight-game drought prior to, and this current 13-game slide that’s carried over from last year.

It’s an alarming lack of production. While Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby was recently mired in a goalless drought of his own, at least he was racking up some points with seven through nine playoff games. Nash’s offense, meanwhile, is nowhere to be found. He’s racked up just four assists — three of them secondary — with just one coming on the power play.

The Rangers have been down this road before with their big-ticket forwards. Marian Gaborik, who came to New York on a $37.5 million deal, scored just six goals in 25 playoff appearances — one fewer than he has in nine games with the Kings this year.

Brad Richards, currently on a $60 million deal, has four goals and eight points in his last 20 playoff games (granted, Richards did score 15 points in his first 20.)

But the big difference with Richards and Gaborik was they at least had some previous playoff success. Richards won the Conn Smythe during Tampa’s 2004 Stanley Cup championship, and Gaborik literally carried Minnesota to the 2003 Western Conference final, scoring nine goals and 17 points in 18 games.

Nash has none of this.

His only playoff experience prior to joining the Rangers was a brief four-game cameo with Columbus in 2009, when he was 24 years old. He had three points in those games, but also finished minus-4.

As such, Nash’s ability to put on the big boy pants will continue to be called into question — because there are no past examples of him ever wearing ’em.

  1. hockey412 - May 6, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    I’m just fine with how he’s been playing. Everyone just leave him alone. He’s doing great.

  2. imgoingtowichita - May 6, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Should be plenty of comments coming if yesterday’s article on Sid was any indication.

  3. dutchman1350 - May 6, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    $7.8M…buyout Richards and trade Nash (Toronto is usually dumb enough to make these type of deals).

    • nj666 - May 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      notice how ny makes these stupid deals to begin with. nash, richards, dont forget gomez.

      • billiam55 - May 6, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        u mean sather?

  4. 2qswing - May 6, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    If you want to trade him to Columbus for Dub and Artie and Erixon …forget it.

  5. kastout11 - May 6, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    He is playing hard, but the puck is just not going in the net. He hit some posts in the postseason and he has played well defensively while helping on the penalty kill. He it pitching in, but they are paying him a lot of money to score goals. Ranger fans need to relax. They outplayed the Pens last night, while having 35 shots on goal and only giving up 15 shots. They just ran up against a very hot goaltender who will not keep it up. Keep firing pucks at Fleury and eventually they will start scoring and the mental midget (Fleury), will go back to his old playoff self (see Philly series 2 years ago and Boston series last year).

    • theageofquarrel - May 6, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      At least he is better than any goalie that the Flyers have on their payroll, he has that going for him.

  6. hockeyornothing - May 6, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Forgot about Gomez. Oh my!
    Nash doesn’t even look “right” out there. Seems lost or at least not where he should be.

  7. jaybyrd99 - May 6, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    yesterday on the 5th of May it was Stinko De Rangers ! bad joke but as a rangers fan this venting made me feel a tad better.

  8. dutchman1350 - May 6, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Don’t forget Wayne Redden

  9. storminator16 - May 6, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Vigneault should channel his inner Dick Vermeil. Nash is doing a fairly bad Larry Johnson.

  10. jonnyhammersticks - May 6, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    With their cap situation, the Rangers need to use a compliance buyout on either Nash or Richards this offseason in order to get guys like Zuccarello, Kreider, and Brassard re-signed.

    Richards may be the obvious choice but I think Sather needs to take a serious look at buying out Nash instead.

    • hosewater2 - May 6, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      Definitely agree, both should be bought out. Nash costs way too much for 2nd line production.

  11. eggserino - May 6, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Was Rick Nash doing his best Phil Kessel in that photo? He aught to try and copy Kessel in the goals and skating department too…

  12. steelcity333 - May 6, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    But he’s tired. Leave him go.

  13. hieronymous27 - May 6, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    Nash is becoming the next Joe Thorton. Big guy, has all the tools to be a star player but just disappoints when his team needs him the most.

  14. pl4tinum514 - May 8, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    Nash looks like a pansy.

    Surprise! he plays like one too.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1859)
  2. P. Kane (1381)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1218)
  4. S. Matthias (1167)
  5. M. Giordano (1069)