How Concerned Should New York Rangers Be About Rick Nash?

By Casey Drottar
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

As of tomorrow, it’ll have been a full month since the last time the New York Rangers saw forward Rick Nash on the ice. When they’ll see him again is anyone’s guess.

Nash suffered a concussion at the hands of San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart on October 8. The Rangers star appeared a bit woozy after the hit, skated a few more shifts and then wasn’t seen for the rest of the game. Since then, the Rangers have been eagerly awaiting the return of arguably their best offensive player. The team currently ranks 25th in the NHL in goals per game, so Nash’s talent is obviously incredibly missed. That said, the current problem is that there’s been little to no progress as far as Nash’s recovery goes. The team seemed bummed about the fact that he’ll miss tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It would’ve marked the first time he returned to Columbus, the team that drafted him, since he was traded in the 2012 offseason.

However, the Rangers should worry less about Nash missing out on a homecoming opportunity, as there should be more uneasiness about when he’s coming back period.

As far as reports go, Nash hasn’t made any big steps towards a comeback since the hit that sidelined him. In fact, word is the Rangers have barely seen him in the past month. A report from ESPN claims, through a source, that Nash has taken part in some intermittent physical activity. Its progress, but it’s hardly any to lead fans to anticipate a return any time soon. That Nash hasn’t even resumed light skating says he still has ways to go.

Nash does have a history with concussions, as he suffered one last season at the hands of Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic. Ironic, really, since the Bruins are a prime example of how unpredictable concussions can be. Center Patrice Bergeron and line-mate Loui Eriksson have both suffered concussions, the former suffering multiple across his ten year career. Both players have returned showing no ill-effects.

At the same time, Marc Savard suffered a concussion at the hands of former Pittsburgh Penguin Matt Cooke way back in 2010. He made a brief return later that year, but hasn’t laced up his skates since due to the intense symptoms he’s still feeling. There’s a very high chance Savard never plays again.

Because a concussion is literally an injury to the brain, there’s no way to predict recovery time. Still, with Nash spending an entire month away from the rink, New York should be very concerned. There’s always a chance he returns this year, but the Rangers can’t even think about that until they hear something, anything that would resemble good news from his recovery.

As days turned to weeks and now months, the Rangers could slowly have to come to the realization that Nash may not even return this year. And after that, the team will be forced to wonder just when they’ll actually see him on the ice again.

Casey Drottar is an NHL writer for Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook

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