Rick Nash is another whipping boy from time to time for
#NYRtwitter…but is it justified? Some people will try to convince you until they are blue in the face, normally saying in all caps “$7.8MIL A YEAR LOL” or “TRADE NASH!” Let me tell you that this argument, as well as all of the other ones, is extremely idiotic.
First let’s take a look at Rick Nash’s career. Nash had 289 goals in 9 seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets which comes out to an average of 32 goals per year and 258 assists within the same time frame. This puts our guy at 547 points in 9 years with the team from Columbus (0.741 points per game) which is hardly laughable. In today’s NHL, 40 goal scorers (which Nash has clearly shown he is/can be) cost upwards of $7.X+ mil per year bottom line. Thinking otherwise is just plain stupid. Is he in the Crosby/Ovi category? No, not really but you can’t use that as a justification for saying Nash did not deserve the contract he got from CBJ after his dominating years with a (pretty lackluster) CBJ team.
Next let’s move on to the general “RICK NASH SUCKS” sheep. On what planet can you say with a straight face that Nash is a bad hockey player/bad forward? Do you realize this guy is strong on his skates, creates room, and drives to the net more often than not? Do you also forget that he is one of the best (you can also make the case that he is THE BEST) 2-way forward in the game? This is a guy that can both score points on the regular and be extremely responsible in his own end which IS SO IMPORTANT on a team like the Rangers with such a lackluster defensive core. Also, this guy creates offensive ability for the other 3 lines he is NOT on, but most people are incapable of critical thinking beyond one topic at a time so I can understand how this is a tough concept. Rick Nash plays against top defensive pairs every night and he works them hard throughout the game. It is this work that allows for the 10-13-40 line to run absolutely wild. Nash doesn’t get stats for the points this line puts up but it is very clear that this line benefits from Nash being on the ice/NYR. Not only does that line benefit, but the young prodigy Jimmy Vesey also is a benefactor of his play. After Vesey got thrown onto a line with Nash and Stepan, he seemed to get his legs back (previously MIA for 2 months) and he’s been playing GREAT hockey. I have a feeling Nash has something to do with that. You will rarely see Nash make a mistake on the ice, but that doesn’t matter when the sheep on social media start herding up. It’s essentially like an avalanche… it all starts with one little disturbance before the entire snow wall on the mountain starts sliding down. Who’s going to be the next Troglodyte to start the Nash sucks train?
Now it’s time for everyone’s go-to response for saying Rick Nash is awful: “HE CAN’T SCORE IN THE PLAYOFFS!” He has 36 points in 65 playoff games which is just above 0.55 points per game. Now, I’m not going to be naïve and sit here to say that’s great but I think this narrative is blown a little out of proportion. Defense gets tough come playoff time (no, this is not an excuse) and I believe Nash still does his part to give NYR the best chance to put up goals when he is out there. The amount of times Nash hasn’t registered a point for a goal during the playoffs, but played a big role in creating that goal-scoring opportunity is asinine. Wake up and understand how hockey works beyond just goals and assists.
Bottom line is Rick Nash is still a player to be reckoned with in the NHL. Are his 40-goal seasons behind him? Maybe…but you can’t say he doesn’t/didn’t deserve the contract he received from CBJ. The furthest I’d go with slandering him would be to say he probably should take a pay cut if Gorton asked, but honestly even if he doesn’t agree to one, I won’t blame him. Saying Rick Nash sucks a million times does not make it true. In fact, all it does is make you look like a complete Neanderthal. Rick Nash is a forward any team would love to have (but he’s not getting traded this year…get it through your heads) and to paraphrase Marty St. Louis, I am proud he’s a F***ing New York Ranger.
Author: @BenR_Experience via Twitter
Credit: (Image 1) @HartnettHockey via Twitter