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.
There was a time in March 2011 while in attendance at MSG for a loss to St. Louis yours truly started a chant from the old 300’s on the 7th Ave end which quickly spread like wild fire through the Garden Faithful. It wasn’t the first time it had been heard under the famous ceiling above Penn Station; at the time an all too familiar ode to the man with perhaps the best job security on the island of Manhattan. “Fire Sather” had a good ring to it, and given the mediocre product that had graced the ice for a third straight season with what seemed no hope to a fruitful ending any time soon, and preceded by a decade’s worth of little to no reward, the blame and vitriol be felled the broad shoulders of the smug and stealth general manager directly sitting just a couple stories above my location that evening.
There was a foolish movement around that time which gained steam through social media on the interweb to stage a protest outside the 9 story cylinder on the corner of 7th and 33rd, to which of course a scant few actually showed up for. Over Glen Sther’s now 14 year run at the helm of the New York Rangers much criticism has been lobbed his way for a perceived mismanagement of a club with lofty expectations that had come to ruins in the years following it’s only championship in the past 73 years. Ranger fans are starved for another sip from Lord Stanley’s Holy Grail, especially having to endure such greatness in recent times from a certain team from the swamp. However, as the club on this day sits one win from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, one must laud the cigar sucking mastermind for his diligence in crafting this club on the precipice of glory.
Throw it back to July/August of 1995 for a moment. Rangers President and GM Neil Smith had just watched his team be discarded by the bigger, stronger force that was the Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers had lost much of their own muscle following their ’94 Cup parade, and those that remained seemed still battle wounded from said excursion. The thought was that Smith must retool the depth and mettle on the roster to combat the broad street Bullies. After an attempt to acquire Shayne Corson from the Blues went awry, out went Sergei Zubov and Petr Nedved for a return of Luc Robitaille and Ulf Samuelsson from Pittsburgh. Later that season at the deadline Smith would spin the roulette wheel again as he had in ’94 dealing Mattias Nordstom, Nathan Lafayette, Ray Ferraro and Ian Laperierre to LA for Jarri Jurri, Marty McSorley and Shane Churla. The result? Yet another second round loss, this time at the hands of a highly skilled and speedy Penguins squad, a team he helped bolster with the likes of Nedved and Zubov. The muscle he acquired sacrificed to the offensive flow and speed due to rash decisions to what happened against Philly a year before.
Glen Sather’s entire regime has been predicated by attempts to field a squad with solid offensive depth. While that took a brief back seat in the waning years of John Tortorella, the 2013-’14 incarnation is result of a gradual process which has taken place over the past 14 years. After being handily dispensed at the hands of the much stronger Boston Bruins last year, one might have anticipated such moves to acquiesce to that style of play, which could have become a detriment in the Conference Final series which the Rangers find themselves up 3-1 heading into game 5 tonight in Montreal. the Canadiens play an open, quick transition game which is a match-up that favors this Rangers squad coached by the calm demeanor and offensive mastermind that is Alain Vigneault, and iced by a multitude of offensive weapons both up front and on the back end. This team has the depth and skill to perhaps lift the chalice.
If one does not learn from history, he is doomed to repeat it. All Ranger fans should thank Glen for sticking to his laurels, as well as be thankful some chants fall on deaf ears.
Its Monday morning and everyone in the city of Montreal is already fucked up. Game time is 9 hours from now so either its a day long pregame or all of Canada’s French people are still trying to forget about the game 1 shit kicking at the hand of the Rangers.
PS sorry about the lack of content in recent times; between Trapp moving/getting new job and myself looking for new employment the blog has taken an unintentional back seat. That’ll start to change soon.