Today marked the eighth consecutive day out on the ice for Rick Nash of the New York Rangers, and the third straight day that he’d practiced with the team while taking contact. The top-end forward has been on the shelf since October 8 after taking a blow to the head from Brad Stuart of the San Jose Sharks, but appears ready and able to make his return to the lineup this week.
According to NHL.com, he’s targeting Tuesday’s contest with the Boston Bruins or Thursday against the Dallas Stars. He won’t play for the Rangers tonight against the Montreal Canadiens or tomorrow when the Rangers take on the Los Angeles Kings, but this is the first time Nash has made a public statement about when he intends to return.
He had this to say to the official site of the league this morning:
Hopefully one of the games Tuesday or Thursday for sure, as long as there’s no setbacks. Everything’s been positive and pushing it every day. It’s four weeks of not doing too much so it takes some time to get the legs back and I think as of right now it’s just conditioning, get the legs back in shape and make sure symptoms don’t pop up.
This is great news for the Blueshirts, who have really turned a corner over the last few weeks. In Nash’s absence, New York was forced to rely on some unproven or young talent, but several players have stepped up their games massively. Chris Kreider is finally capitalizing on the promise he showed, while Carl Hagelin is thriving under Β new head coach Alain Vigneault.
The Rangers are back in playoff contention, and adding a healthy and confident Nash will only make them that much more dangerous moving forward. This is a team that’s dealt with a tremendous amount of adversity early on, and New York could be one of the more dangerous squads in the NHL for the last three-quarters of the season.