Another Rick Nash story from a Rick Nash apologist
This past Friday, Rick Nash played against Chicago in an exhibition tilt. From what I saw, he had a very strong game, drove to the net and made an incredible saucer pass to set up a Duclair goal. Not a bad night’s work. Except he didn’t score.
Throughout training camp, head coach Alain Vigneault has heaped praise on his beleaguered star. AV especially focused on his conditioning in camp, saying he was the best conditioned athlete after testing. AV quickly corrected himself by saying he was one of three.
Recently Vigneault said, “Rick’s come in here every practice he has been focused, paying attention. He’s paying attention to the details on the ice, working extremely hard. This camp, compared to the one he had last year. I’ve had him twice…night and day.”
“Night and Day”, that’s basically Rick Nash’s game from the regular season versus the playoffs. Let me break it down so it’s plain to see:
Career Regular Season:
783 GAMES PLAYED / 336 GOALS / .43 GOALS PER GAME / 12.4% SHOOTING
41GAMES PLAYED / 5 GOALS / .12 GOALS PER GAME / 3.6% SHOOTING
Bottom line – that’s the epitome of “Night and Day”
The major issue here isn’t necessarily this disparity, it’s also his 7.8 million contract. Most fans, simply feel at that price he should be scoring every game, maybe even 2 per game in the playoffs. That simply isn’t fair or realistic.
Ignored in all of this was the fact that Nash has been plagued with injuries since he got to NY. The moment he traded in his Blue Jackets jersey for a Rangers one, he became a target. In Columbus he was a star on a terrible team. Opponents checked him hard, but didn’t need to kill him to get 2 points. Plus, who the hell really had a rivalry with Columbus when he was there – Detroit? If so, it was pretty one-sided.
Welcome to the Rangers Rick! And to the Flyers, Devils and Islanders trying to hurt you! Oh, and say hello to Milan Lucic’s elbow. Last season, Nash missed 17 games due to injury, primarily concussion issues, yet still managed to lead the team in goal scoring. He scored 26 times in 65 games for a .40 goals per game average. That’s pretty much par for the course for his career.
Just to help clear the picture, Rick Nash finished in the top 30 for goals per game last year. Steven Stamkos finished with a .68 and Alex Ovechkin had a .65 goals per game average. The 3rd best was Corey Perry at .53.
Of the three players mentioned above, Only Stamkos makes less than Nash’s 7.8 million cap hit at 7.5 million. Stamkos is allegedly going to make 12 million on his next contract.
But let’s trash Nash some more, because .40 goals per game is pedestrian – right? If that’s the case, Sidney Crosby makes a boat load of money too (8.7M) and he scored at a .45 clip last season. Ok, maybe Crosby’s a bad comparison because he’s not really a goal scorer. What about newly minted 10 million dollars a year man, Patrick Kane? Last season, Kane scored at a .42 pace. Someone please take Rick Nash out back and put him down, he’s obviously no good.
Let’s make this clear, Rick Nash NEEDS TO SCORE IN THE PLAYOFFS! I completely get it and will take him to task for that every single time. However, the vitriol spewed his way is counter-productive for what this team needs.
The Rangers need Rick Nash to score at his career .43 pace or better. Over a full 82 that’s an extremely important, 35 goals! No other Ranger is likely to put that number up. So it’s high-time you Rick Nash bashers put your hate aside and get behind the guy during the regular season.
Remember, the Rangers have to get there. And when they do, if he doesn’t score – I’ll join you all in yelling for his head. For now, I will remain President of the Rick Nash Apologist Fan Club.