Rick Nash says 'different things' kept him out, doesn't deny concussion, is relieved to skate with Rangers teammates
BY Pat Leonard
Rick Nash was a sight for sore Rangers eyes on Tuesday morning, participating in his first team practice or game action in nine days due to an undisclosed injury.
Rookie forward Chris Kreider smiled when asked how it felt to see No. 61 back on the ice.
“I think it goes without saying, right? Kreider said.
Nash said “a lot of different things” have been bothering him. He is not playing Tuesday night against Winnipeg but said he already had skated on his own “a few times” last week and that his condition is “definitely (headed) in the right direction, and that’s a big positive.”
He said a combination of several events, including a few slashes and hits, led to his extended absence and trip to injured reserve. Nash did not say that he had sustained a concussion, but he didn’t say that he hadn’t, either, and hesitated before answering when asked directly.
“Um, I’m not a doctor, so it’s tough for me to analyze that,” Nash said. “But it wasn’t something where I could look at myself and say I had that issue. That’s up for the doctors to decide.”
Asked whether the root of his injury were Bruins forward Milan Lucic’s hit on Nash with 13:41 remaining in the third period in Boston on Feb. 12, Nash smiled as he dodged the question.
“It was a bunch of things,” Nash said. “I don’t really want to go into specifics, specific things that it exactly was, but there was a bunch of things going on where I wasn’t good enough to play.
“I’ve been banged up quite a bit and obviously just didn’t feel I could compete out there, but after last week and today it’s definitely (headed) in the right direction and it’s a big positive.”
As Tuesday morning’s skate ended, Nash was the only skater to remain on the ice late with assistant coach Mike Sullivan and backup goaltender Martin Biron, taking about five minutes worth of extra shots on goal. But his eventual return will be a huge boost for the Rangers (8-7-2), who have a 0-2-1 record heading into Tuesday night’s game against Winnipeg at the Garden.
It had been feared that Nash was suffering from concussion symptoms after Lucic’s hit, but the Rangers have kept silent on the nature of their forward’s ailment(s). After the Lucic hit, though, Nash played in the Rangers’ next two games on Feb. 14 against the Islanders and Feb. 17 against the Capitals. Prior to that home game on Feb. 17, the Rangers labeled Nash questionable pregame, sent him on the ice for warm-ups to test whatever was bothering him, then let him play.
“I felt good to play,” Nash said, when asked whether he felt whatever ailed him during those warmups. “I felt fine. I felt good enough that I could get through a game.”
Nash practiced the next day on Feb. 18 but then was a surprise scratch against the Canadiens on Feb. 19 and did not even make the trip to Canada with his teammates, then missed Monday’s practice in Greenburgh, as well.
Nash still leads the team in points (12 points, three goals, nine assists) despite missing three games.
“Feeling good. That’s a positive. Thanks,” Nash said, ending his session with the media himself.
‘No, Rick,’ the rest of the Rangers are likely saying: ‘thank you.’