After a series of conflicting reports indicated that Rick Nash’s concussion problems could be much more series than initially thought, some good news emerged for the New York Rangers following practice this morning. Darren Dreger is reporting that Nash skated with the extra forwards and goaltenders earlier today, which signals that he could be inching closer to returning.
He hasn’t played since taking a blow to the head from Brad Stuart of the San Jose Sharks on October 8. Nash has been on the IR since the middle of October, and the Rangers have been tight lipped about any progress or regression in his recovery.
Getting back out onto the ice is a major step forward though, and could possibly indicate that New York’s training staff cleared him for on-ice workouts. Typically concussed players must pass a battery of off-ice tests before being allowed to skate again. That’s speculation on our part, but in cases of players like Daniel Briere and Ryane Clowe, they needed clearance prior to taking to the ice.
Briere is skating again, while Clowe is still stuck in the off-ice phase of his recovery.
With the Rangers back in the thick of the playoff race in the weak Metropolitan Division, Nash’s return can’t come a day too soon. Ryan Callahan is putting on a special performance right now, but the offense could still use some bolstering. When healthy, Nash is capable of being one of the better goal-scoring wingers in the NHL, so he’d obviously be a boost upon returning.
That’s likely still a bit of time away though, as he’ll probably need to take part in some contact drills and shake the rink rust before hitting the ice in a full-speed NHL contest with the Rangers. Still, this is great news on a front that’s been relatively quiet lately.