Rick Nash had an All Star 1st half, ready to complete MVP season

Rick Nash scores at the ASG (BRUCE BENNETT/AP)

Rick Nash scores at the ASG (BRUCE BENNETT/AP)

Rick Nash only scored two goals at the All Star Game in Columbus. Normally, that would be a heck of a game, but there were 29 goals scored in the contest. While the crowd was pretty happy all day, there was one person in particular that was constantly met with jeers.

Rick Nash (All Star Game -JAMIE SABAU/NHLI VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Rick Nash (All Star Game -JAMIE SABAU/NHLI VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Former Blue Jacket, Rick Nash has been the ire of every fan in Columbus since requesting a trade back in 2011/12. Everytime the Rangers visit, he is booed loudly. The All Star Game was no different. “In one ear, out the other,” Rick Nash told the media after his side won 17-12. “It’s an All-Star Game and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Still, he and his family enjoyed the atmosphere and had a great time.

Nash made the All Star game on the strength of 28 goals and 43 points in 44 games. His focus now in the Rangers remaining 38 contests will be to continue this pace and have his team climb the standings.

If Nash can just meet his outputs of .636 goals and .977 points per game he will finish with 52 goals and 80 points. Impressive numbers to say the least and Hart Trophy candidate worthy as well.

 

LOOKING AT THE COMPETITON

Tyler Seguin (DAL)

Tyler Seguin (DAL)

Currently the leading candidates for MVP have to be Tyler Sequin and Jakub Vorachek. Both are having a tremendous season for their respective teams. Sequin also has 28 goals to go with 52 points in 46 games. If he continues, he may notch 49 goals and finish with 92 points. Impressive to say the least.

On the other hand Vorachek is tearing it up in Philly. His 56 points in 48 games is remarkable. If he can stay healthy, a final stat sheet of 95 points is attainable. Not too shabby to say the least.

Of course, we should not disregard Patrick Kane (51 points) or Evgeni Malkin (51 points). Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Ryan Getzlaf could all make a run for it too. However, the only man on pace to break 50 goals at this point is Rick Nash.

 

WHAT MAKES NASH A VIABLE HART TROPHY CANDIDATE?

In the world of hockey there are 2 milestones that speak volumes to any MVP candidate. They are, the 100 point plateau and the 50 goal mark. Vorachek leads the league in scoring and is only on pace to score 95 points. At this juncture no one is trending to break the century mark.

As for the 50 goal benchmark, Sequin is coming in a hair shy at 49. Rick Nash on the other hand is the odds on favorite to break 50 goals and win the Rocket Richard Trophy (Most Goals). However, he will be at least a dozen points shy of the NHL’s leading point scorer.

SO WHY IS NASH EVEN IN THE DISCUSSION?

Rick Nash - (Getty)

Rick Nash – (Getty)

Simple, MVP’s should be about impact to their team and Nash’s goal scoring kept the Rangers afloat when injuries crippled them for two months. His play has the Rangers in 3rd place in the Metro Division, just 5 points behind the NY Islanders with 2 games in hand. The Rangers are also 6 points behind Conference leading Tampa Bay Lightning with 4 games yet to make up.

A quick glance at Sequin’s Dallas Stars have them 4 points out of the West wild card and Vorachek’s Philadelphia Flyers are all but done at 12 points from the East wild card. Should all these factors hold true, Rick Nash’s name would certainly be one of the three finalists come season’s end.

RICK NASH ONLY WANTS ONE THING

Sitting in front of the media during All-Star weekend, Rick Nash made one thing perfectly clear – he wants the Cup.

“I want the (Stanley Cup) that we were close to last year. As you get older in your career you want to help the team win as much, but the personal goals don’t matter nearly as much as the team goals.”

Rick Nash still feels the sting of last year’s loss to the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final but he learned from it. “It makes you realize how many things have to go right to go that far and to win it,” Nash said. “It sits on you  pretty hard, and it’s a tough thing to forget, but it keeps that fire ignited in your belly to get back there again.”

This time, Nash knows that he needs to score more in the playoffs, his three goals won’t cut it. The difference now is Rick Nash appears 100% healthy. If he can stay that way heading into the post-season an All Star season could become a season filled with Hart.

More important for Nash, a parade with his teammates down the Canyon of Heroes in New York City.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore