So last night Trapp texts me asking what the fuck is wrong with Nash and why the hell he can’t score, or do anything to take over a game. My response is everything I wanted to write in this very article a couple weeks ago when the Rangers found themselves down 3-1 in their series against Washington, but I held off since I felt he would break through and score a big goal in that series, which he did do in game 6. The reason is very simple: he does not have it within himself to be a winner. He does not have it within his personality (of which I’m very sure is something he doesn’t actually have) to be a competitor. He’s a shy Canadian “good boy” who only operates within his given coach’s game plan, and will never elevate his play to operate outside of said game plan, despite his clear offensive skill/ability/size and speed that warrants him the right to do so. He does not grasp the idea that superstars (of which he is one) need to take it upon themselves to make the plays needed to win.
The Rangers need him to at some point realize that he’s the best player on the ice at any given time and has the ability to take control of the game, and even be selfish when need be. When he gets a shorthanded breakaway coming in on his strong hand side, you go hard to the net with your speed and size to attempt a move on the goalie to score. What you DON’T do is take a goddamn soft wrist shot from the faceoff circle for a possible rebound play to Jesper fuckin Fast.
Do it yourself bro, you’re reeeeaaally good. Game 6 on Mother’s Day, he scores a huge goal powering to the net, and I let out one of the most fulfilling yells of exclamation yet, because I badly want to root for our true goal scoring star.
He’s not absolved yet because that’s just one (albeit a BIG one) of 6 goals in over 50 playoff games during his Rangers career, and I’m very sick of wanna be coaches defending his great “two-way-play.”
The thing about “two-way-play” is that it HAS TO GO TWO WAYS. HE’S NOT A TWO WAY PLAYER IF HE’S NOT ALSO SCORING GOALS. And don’t give me this shit how he’s working so hard to defend and throw hits and all that. He’s not making his teammates better, and he’s not going to the net like he should. Period. Let me remind you what philosophically Rick Nash on the Rangers represents: SUPERSTAR LEVEL GOAL SCORING. He was acquired in the wake of the disastrous loss in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals to the Devils in which the Rangers beat themselves because both John Tortorella coached his players into the ground and a lack of premium twine tingling. He is the reason a couple core team members were deemed expendable in the name of much needed added offense in the form of a true power forward.
Look, Rick Nash is a bonafide superstar, as noted by his career high goal scoring tallys this year (42). He’s not employed to backcheck. He could very well score tonight in game 3 in Tampa and lead the Rangers to victory, and, I don’t know, it would probably make some modicum of sense to have your 40 goal scorer on the first power play unit (looking at you Alain). But he can’t shy away from these big moments, nor can he feel like one is enough. He needs to grow a personality quick and start to take over.