Rick Nash won't play vs. Senators

Updated: February 20, 2013, 4:40 PM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers will be without star winger Rick Nash for the second straight game Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.

The Rangers announced Wednesday that Nash, who is suffering from an undisclosed injury, will not join the club on its trip to Ottawa.

Nash has not been ruled out to rejoin the team in Montreal, however. The Rangers visit the Canadiens on Saturday at Montreal's Bell Centre in a rematch of Tuesday's 3-1 loss.

Nash was somewhat of a surprising scratch on Tuesday, if only because he played Sunday against the Washington Capitals. The 28-year-old Nash, who was acquired by the Rangers in a heralded trade this past summer, was questionable leading up to that game against Washington.

Nash missed a team event on Friday due to illness and missed practice the next day -- the team characterized it as a maintenance day -- but took warm-ups Sunday and played. He also practiced Monday but sat out with the mystery ailment on Tuesday.

Nash did not practice with the team on Wednesday.

"Everybody has injuries," Rangers coach John Tortorella said Wednesday. "You just have to play. Nash is a big part of our team and has been a very good player for our team, but he's out. We can't just have one line going."

Although the Rangers have repeatedly declined to reveal what is ailing Nash -- Tortorella's most colorful response on the matter was, "None of your business" -- or how serious the injury may be, it is believed that whatever is holding Nash out of the lineup is linked to a nasty hit he took last week in Boston.

Nash's head rattled against the glass when he was slammed into the boards by Bruins forward Milan Lucic, who was not penalized on the play.

Without Nash, Marian Gaborik has moved up to the right wing position on the team's first line, where he is playing with left wing Carl Hagelin and center Derek Stepan.

"Any time you lose a guy like Rick Nash, it's going to be hard to replace him," Stepan said. "But at the same time, we have guys in the locker room that are going to get the opportunity, and I think we have guys that can fill the role.

"Everyone has to chip in to fill a big hole but [nothing] really changes much in the mindset or dynamic. Everyone's just got to step up a little more."

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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