Nash and St. Louis Under Pressure to Score
Hands tighten. Palms sweating. Reactions slowed by over thinking. That is what the pressure to score is doing to Rick Nash and Marty St. Louis. I joke when I call it “Rangeritis”, but it’s for real. These star athletes feel enormous pressure from the fans, the media but most of all themselves. Very few stars have come here and had little trouble scoring. In the past 25 years, only Mark Messier and Jagr were able to score at a rate similar to their previous outputs. Simply put, Mess laughed in the face of adversity and Jagr didn’t understand the word pressure.
“Of course there’s pressure. To me there’s no greater pressure than the pressure I put on myself.” A frustrated St. Louis said after practice yesterday. One can only assume his blood boiling as he answered reporter’s questions. “You have to be honest in assessing your game. Am I playing great? No. But I’ve played way worse than this.” An honest reply from the man with only two assists and no goals in seven games as a Ranger.
Subsequently, the Rangers have gone only 3-3-1 since his arrival, only adding to the pressure to score. Sticks gripped tighter, reactions get slower, doubt grows larger.
Marty isn’t the only star on this team struggling. The man who gets paid the most of any Blueshirt forward Rich Nash has gone AWOL. Since winning Gold in Russia, Nash has 2 goals and 3 assists in 10 games. The last goal coming March 7th against Carolina. The problem is he’s only averaging 3.3 shots a game. During his best stretch of the year from 1/6 -1/26 he scored 11 goals in 11 games. The key was 4.45 shots per game. Rick Nash needs to be greedy and shoot more. He needs to take his 6’4″ and 213 pounds to the net every game.
In a recent article by Larry Brooks in the NY POST, Rich Nash admitted as much. “When I look at my shifts, the difference between when I’m scoring and not scoring is probably the time I spend on the inside. It’s not like I don’t want to, but I have to do a better job of getting to the inside.” It really is that easy for Rick Nash to get back on track. Go inside and shoot the puck.
So the solution is simple for both these world-class hockey stars. RELAX! Play the game and enjoy it. Yes, the playoffs are in jeopardy, but clenching fists on sticks causing sawdust to come out of them will not help the cause. It’s time to stop pressing and start scoring. If Nash and St. Louis do this, it will not just rain, it’ll pour.