Rangers Must Learn to Play Without Nash

11/6/13 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

While the New York Rangers' offense has definitely taken some steps forward these past few weeks, the team is going to need to be even better as there has been absolutely no good news when it comes to Rick Nash's health.

May 12, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) warms up before game six of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsWhat we do know is that Nash had a concussion. What we also now know is that his concussion issues are lingering, which is neither good for the Blueshirts or even Team Canada at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

What does this all mean for the Rangers? For starters, it means they need to start learning how to put the puck in the net with some kind of regularity.

Over the last week or so, the Rangers have definitely been throwing more pucks at the net. They crack the 40-shot barrier twice and in other games, had over 30 shots on goal.

While that is good news, the bad news is that the team is still not scoring many goals. As of this writing, the team is 27th in the league with goals for with just 26 goals in 14 games.

Secondly, it means that the team needs to develop better offensive lines going forward. Without Nash, head coach Alain Vigneualt must be able to find the right line combinations that will give the team every chance to put the puck in the net.

Even without Nash, the Rangers have some offensive depth that can put the puck in the net. With that said, however, they have not been able to do so this season and if that keeps up and Nash ends up missing a lot more time, this Rangers' hockey club could be in serious trouble.

Line-making is not an exact science. Vigneault needs to find which players work best with others and which players will generate scoring chances and if he can figure that out with at least two lines, this team should be in good shape going forward.

The team's top two lines should consist of the likes of Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider, Benoit Pouliot and Brad Richards. These forwards all have the talent in them to produce and for the Rangers, it is matter of them all getting on the same page and all putting the puck in the net on a consistent basis. 

Speaking of scoring goals, the Rangers must look to someone who can do that consistently and for this hockey club, this is going to be extremely tough to do. Right now, Richards leads the team with just five goals while the team's second leading goal scorer has just three (Callahan and Stepan).

Someone on this Rangers' team needs to step up and start putting the puck in the net. Guys like Callahan, Richards, Brassard, Stepan and Kreider all have the ability to do this and with Nash going to be out for an extended period of time, they must start doing it now.

It is not going to be easy but the Rangers must find a way to score goals and win without Nash until he is healthy and able to return to this team.
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11/6/13   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

Dan_B wrote:
I am really getting the sense that it is going to be a LONG time before we see Rick Nash on the ice again.

It sure sounds like it, but as a fan of the game I don't want to see Nash come back too soon.  I'd rather him take the time he needs, only coming back when he's 100% healthy.  I'd much rather see him take the longer recovery approach of Crosby, rather than try to rush back like Marc Savard.  If it means sacrificing a bad season for the Rangers, so be it.  One season of recovery now will give the Rangers a lot of good years in the future with him at his best.

11/6/13   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

I am really getting the sense that it is going to be a LONG time before we see Rick Nash on the ice again.