Rick Nash makes Rangers Cup favorites

Updated: January 11, 2013, 9:07 PM ET
By Craig Custance

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- For about three weeks this summer, New York Rangers center Brad Richards knew a Rick Nash trade was close. The Rangers had asked him for his thoughts about the Columbus captain and it was clear a deal was highly likely. He just needed to be patient.

Richards woke up every day hoping there was a message from the team saying a deal was done.

"Kind of like the lockout," he said, smiling, during a chat at the Rangers' practice facility Thursday.

On the afternoon the trade was finally completed, Richards got the call that was it was going to happen. On July 23, Nash was acquired from the Blue Jackets in exchange for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first-round pick. Richards met Nash in New York on his first night in the city as a member of the Rangers and took him to dinner.

"I was the happiest guy in New York," Richards said.

On Thursday, we saw exactly why. With John Tortorella watching from above at the Rangers' training facility in Greenburgh, Richards centered a line with Nash on one side and Marian Gaborik on the other. Now, we realize Tortorella changes lines as fast as any coach in the league, but watching this trio fly by on the ice sparked a reminder of exactly what this trade meant to the Rangers. They were already a Stanley Cup contender without Nash; now they become a Stanley Cup favorite.