Rick Nash's former centerman in Columbus Andrew Cassels talks to Craig Custance of ESPN.com about what kind of player the Rangers prized offseason acquisition is…
"I think when he's in clutch games or big games or tight games, that's when he plays at his best."
…if you can be clutch in New York, you'll be a superstar. Just ask Brad Richards. He didn't have the greatest statistical year in his first season on Broadway, but man did he come through when it counted and the city embraced him for it.
Cassels adds this about how Nash makes others around him better…
"Defenders have to cheat to him, which opens up other options. If you can get him the puck by going to the net hard, there are going to be rebounds. He creates so much offense just by driving to the net."
…a player driving to the net with the puck? I forgot what that looked like.
…last year, Richards had a tough time meshing with Gaborik because their games didn't fit well. Gaborik is more of a one-on-one player which didn't allow Richards to use his superior passing skills. Nash is another story. He loves to be fed the puck. If Richards can put it in Nash's sweet spot he's going to be one-timing home goals all season long.
Despite being a clutch player, the fact remains Nash was only able to guide Columbus to four playoff games. He addresses that here…
"If you would have told me when I was drafted I would play 10 years and be 28 and only have four playoff games under my belt, I wouldn’t be too happy or believe you really, but … that’s the way my career went, and I can’t do anything about it now. All that’s behind me, so I don’t even think about that anymore. I’m just looking forward to being here, being part of this team, and doing anything I can to help these guys in any way they need it."
…he's always had the excuse of playing for a terrible team. Not anymore. It's Cup or bust with the Rangers. I think he's up for the challenge.
It also sounds as if Nash has been impressed with the Rangers and his new teammates as he said this about Henrik Lundqvist inviting him over for a champagne toast and Brad Richards taking him out to dinner when first arrived (via NY Post)…
“As a player, it can be the little things that define an organization, and those were the things people were doing for me the first couple of days after I got here,” Nash said. “They show you that they care about you.
“You hear about it all the time, and now I see for myself that this is a first-class, world-class organization.”
…always great for a new player's confidence to feel wanted and it looks like the Rangers have gone out of their way to do that for Nash.