Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 02/11/13 at 11:27 AM ET
The New York Post's Larry Brooks suggests that Rick Nash's "slow" start with the New York Rangers (I'm not sure if 3 goals, 6 assists and 9 points over the course of 11 games played is "slow," but still) hasn't yielded much criticism because the highly-paid Nash is bringing his lunch pail to work, to so speak:
If it is clear we’ve yet to see the full kaleidoscope of Nash’s imposing game, it is equally clear that lack of production hasn’t been for a lack of trying. The winger has been involved, he has been on the puck, he has been recording shots at a rate historically consistent with his first nine years in the NHL and he has been defensively responsible.
Last night, Nash completed the scoring in the Rangers’ 5-1 Garden victory over the Lightning, whipping a left wing two-on-one drive past Anders Lindback with just nine seconds to play. But his third goal of the season did not define the night any more than his stats defined his first three weeks as a Ranger.
Rather, the night was defined by the combination power/finesse move on the game’s very first shift, when the winger accepted a feed at the right hash marks and wheeled to the top between the circles, firing a wrist shot that banked in off Carl Hagelin at 0:31.
He made this move while shrugging off both Martin St. Louis and Victor Hedman as if the two Tampa Bay defenders were no more than an optical illusion.
Like Brad Richards, who came here a year ago, Nash is a low-key personality comfortable performing in the Broadway spotlight but who neither needs it nor seeks it. Paycheck aside, he’s a blue-collar guy who would fit right in up in the blue seats.
“I think the way we play here is right up my alley,” Nash said after his two-point, five-shot, plus-four performance. “When I was in Columbus playing for Ken Hitchcock, he preached the same type of defensive responsibility that we practice here, about how your offense comes from your defense. That’s how I was taught to play. I know the goals aren’t there, but that’s not a concern for me as long as I play the right way and as long as I get the opportunities. Really, it’s not bothering me.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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