Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Rick Nash ready for Broadway
By Katie Strang
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- After spending the past 10 years of his career with the small-market Columbus Blue Jackets, Rick Nash knows he is in for a drastic change of scenery with the New York Rangers.
Shipped to New York in a blockbuster trade on Monday -- a painstaking deal that took five months to complete -- the 28-year-old star winger said he's ready for the challenge of playing underneath the bright lights of Broadway.
"I think the main thing was looking at the team, looking at what they've done over the years. It's something I'd love to be part of. I'd love to help them out. I think the big-market is just a bonus that comes along with it," said Nash, who hails from Brampton, Ontario.
"Growing up around Toronto, this is kind of what I'm used to for hockey. It was a bit of a change playing in Columbus. After being there for nine-10 years, I think I'm looking forward to seeing all this."
Nash, a five-time All-Star who has posted five straight seasons of 30 goals or more, is no stranger to pressure. He helped lead the Team Canada to Olympic Gold in the 2010 Vancouver Games.
"I think I'll embrace it great," Nash said Wednesday in his introductory press conference at the team's training center in Westchester. "I think in 2010 I had the most pressure on me whatsoever, playing in the Olympics in my home country. I think pressure is a great thing if you use it in the right way."
The former first overall pick in 2002 has already heard from teammates Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal and Brad Richards and is looking forward to joining a team that finished second overall in the league's regular-season standings and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals.
In nine seasons, Nash only played in one playoff series for the Blue Jackets. After claiming the seventh seed in the West, Columbus was swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the quarterfinals in 2009.
"I would've definitely hoped to win there a lot more, play more than four playoff games in a nine-year career, but the reality is it didn't happen and the plan didn't pan out like I wanted it to," Nash said. "I think the positive is for me to end up in New York in one of the most historic organizations. I think every kid dreams about playing for an original-six [team]. I don't think there's a better place than here for me."
Although Nash -- who has six years remaining on a deal that pays him $7.8 million annually, seldom played against the Rangers throughout his time in Columbus -- he's well aware of the tough, grinding style the team has adopted under fiery coach John Tortorella.
Nash said he heard from Tortorella soon after the trade and has a good idea of what to expect heading into this upcoming season.
"From my understanding, he's very demanding and is a tough guy to play for. He preaches hard work and that's what you expect from a coach. That's what you want," Nash said.