There’s always a huge debate within the hockey community on the importance of fighting. While some feel there’s no correlation between brawling and winning, the real hockey fans (aka the readers of this blog) know better and Rick Nash’s performance last night was exhibit A for our cause.
No one can convince me that seeing a super star player so emotionally invested in a game he’s willing to literally fight for the win won’t give his entire team some extra juice and intensity.
And if you don’t believe me, just ask Nash’s teammates:
Derrick Brassard (via MSG Network)…
“I think when Rick fought in the beginning of the third period it gave a lot to our bench. It gave us a lot of emotion. It was a great job by him. He really led with his leadership.”
Henrik Lundqvist (via New York Post)…
“That got me fired up. It got me mad. It got me to think, ‘There’s no way we’re going to lose this hockey game when they fight our guy.’
“I’m still kind of mad about [the fact] that he had to fight.”
Marc Staal (via New York Post)…
“It was all going to be about winning one-on-one battles and fighting through whatever we faced. And then we got that game from [Nash]. It was emotional for him, the crowd was kind of bi-polar, booing and cheering, then booing some more, and he responded, playing all night with that edge.
“He got us going. And we followed his lead.”
Even Glen Sather was fired up…
#NYRangers GM Glen Sather on his way out of Nationwide Arena: "That was old-time hockey."
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 22, 2014
…the Blue Jackets’ likely game plan last night was to be as physical as possible with a passive Rangers team, assuming that, as has been the case all season, they would wilt under the severe pounding. What they didn’t anticipate, was it would somehow awaken a sleeping giant. And that giant’s name is Rick Nash.
…while I don’t want to see Nash fighting every game, his display of aggression couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the Rangers. Since the Olympic break they haven’t been able to match the urgency and intensity of their opponents. That was until their All Star winger stepped out of his comfort zone and reminded the rest of his teammates what it takes to win this time of year.
…Rangers fans have had a tough time accepting Nash as one of their own since his arrival. But performances such as this will change minds around here real quick.
…not only did Nash’s antics fire his teammates up, but they also seemed to give himself a charge as he had this reaction to Hagelin’s empty netter that sealed the victory…
…you think he wanted to win that one?
…what also shouldn’t be lost in the euphoria of Nash’s awakening was that he also had a goal incorrectly taken away as well as SEVEN shots on cage.
…having said all that, a relapse to what’s ailed them all season tonight in New Jersey will render last night’s events meaningless.
H/T to reader DP Snotty for the gif.