Posted January 18, 2013 on AP on Fox
Columbus_blue_jackets_0abe
If going from being a Columbus Blue Jacket to a Broadway Blueshirt carries a whole lot of pressure, Rick Nash isn't feeling it on his broad shoulders. Welcome to New York, Rick. You're not in Ohio anymore. The long sought-after Nash finally was corralled by the Rangers in a big offseason trade. New York is coming off a season in which it finished first in the Eastern Conference, but the Rangers (51-24-7) fell short of the Stanley Cup finals with a conference finals loss to the rival New Jersey Devils. Expectations were already high for this season, which will finally get going Saturday night when the Rangers visit the Boston Bruins. Throw the 6-foot-4 Nash into a forward mix that also features high-scorers Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, and it's hard not to view the Rangers as being as serious a Stanley Cup threat as there is out there. "I couldn't think of a better situation than to come here for my career," said Nash, who spent his first nine seasons with Columbus. "I'm looking at it now and I'm happy I got the chance to do it and I didn't spend the time in one place my whole career." Especially in the shadows of Columbus. During his time with the Blue Jackets, Nash reached the playoffs only once - a quick, four-game appearance in 2009 in a sweep at the hands of Detroit. Nash can hardly be blamed for the Blue Jackets' failures. He put up 289 goals and 547 points in 674 games - including two 40-goal seasons and five others in which he netted at least 30. New York gave up Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, two other players and a first-round pick to bring the five-time All-Star to the Rangers. The move from Columbus to the spotlight of the Big Apple hasn't rattled the Ontario native a bit during the abbreviated one-week training camp. "This is great," Nash said. "This is what I grew up with in Toronto, where hockey is a big deal. It's a top-four major sport, and this is what I love." He'll find some passionate fans who won't be rooting for him Saturday in Boston. There's one big difference for the Bruins this year as they try to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons. They'll have to do it without Tim Thomas, the Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goaltender who was the star of their 2011 championship run. The enigmatic but frequently unbeatable goalie has decided to take a year off, choosing instead to relax with his family in Colorado. That leaves the No. 1 goaltender job in the skates of Tuukka Rask, who performed ably in the top spot in 2010 but has never been the starter for an entire season. "We've always kind of had a plan, a succession plan ... for handing the reins over to him when it's time," general manager Peter Chiarelli said this week. "Maybe it's a year early from my perspective, but it's close enough that we're happy where he is in his development." Rask had a 2.05 goals-against average in 25 games as Thomas' backup last season, a year after posting a 2.67 mark in 29 games in the 2010-11 regular season. In 2010, when Thomas was struggling with a hip injury, Rask had a 1.97 GAA in a career-high 45 games before the Bruins' collapse in the second round of the playoffs against Philadelphia. The Bruins head into the shortened season with nine players who found jobs in Europe during the lockout - among the most in the league - and others who were able to play in the minors. They're hoping that gives them an edge after a one-week training camp that will leave the unprepared gasping for air. Among them was Rask, who played in the Czech Republic. "The start's going to be important for us, as it is for everybody," he said. "It's going to be a challenge mentally and physically, for sure." He'll face a challenge in a matchup with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist was stellar last season in going 39-18-5 with a minuscule 1.97 GAA in 62 regular-season games and then 10-10 with a 1.82 GAA in the Rangers' run to the NHL's final four. "It's back to routine," Lundqvist said. "It's almost like your life slowly starts to come back to you. It's been missing for a long time, but it's fun to be back." Aside from Thomas, the Bruins (49-29-4) have most of their team back after winning the Northeast Division, then falling to Washington in overtime of Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs. Tyler Seguin, the former No. 2 overall draft pick who led Boston with 29 goals and 67 points in his second season, signed a six-year, $34 million contract just before the lockout. The Bruins also signed forward Brad Marchand to a four-year deal and Milan Lucic to a three-year extension around the same time. Forward Nathan Horton appears ready to play for the first time in nearly a year after a concussion. Boston will need all the help it can get offensively to beat Lundqvist, who has two shutouts in his last three trips to Boston and a 1.53 GAA in 27 career games against the Bruins.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

The 303 Pre-Game: Preds vs. Columbus…

IN ORDER TO WIN NASHVILLE: The Predators need to jump out to early lead. If they can get a couple goals before Columbus gets on the board, they should be able to get inside their heads. Remember, the Blue Jackets have only been to the playoffs one time in their 13-year franchise history, they have zero playoff wins and they just traded the face of their franchise, Rick Nash, to...

Blue Jackets beat Predators in shootout

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Derick Brassard scored in the sixth round of a shootout, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 Saturday night for their fifth win to start a season and a very rare win over their Central Division foe. Columbus had not won an opener since Oct. 3, 2009, against Minnesota, and the Blue Jackets had won only once in Nashville in the previous...

Several teams face pressure to win Cup

Rangers coach John Tortorella says it's the right time for Rick Nash to be in New York. The franchise is going for its first Stanley Cup since 1994. Nash improves the Rangers' chances. On the other side of North America, the Vancouver Canucks can't wait to resume their quest for their first NHL title. The Rangers, Canucks - and their fans - won't want to talk...

Quiet On the Offensive Front

With a somewhat revamped offense and Rick Nash in the lineup, the New York Rangers' offense was quiet in their season opening 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins. Obviously, it was the first game and players still have to get used to each other, but nevertheless, the Blueshirts did not generate enough offensive pressure. While the Bruins' defensemen are big and do a good job...

Game 1: Columbus @ Nashville – The Ecstasy of Gold

Photo by: predators.nhl.com It is official…It’s HOCKEY TIME IN SMASHVILLE!! The long wait is over and fans are coming out in droves to sell-out Bridgestone Arena for tonight’s tilt against the oft-battered Columbus Blue Jackets. Puck drop is at 7 P.M. and can be heard on 102.5 the Game and viewed on FS Tennessee with Pete Weber and Terry Crisp on the call. Like an Ennio Morricone...

Listen: Torts on WFAN; Nash on ESPN Radio

Yesterday, John Tortorella was a guest on WFAN's Mike Francesa radio show... Upload MP3 and download MP3 using free MP3 hosting from Tindeck. ...i've listened to a couple of Torts' radio interviews recently and man, is he obsessed with making sure his players don't get injured in camp. Tortorella wasn't the only Ranger on the radio yesterday, as...

Preds lose opener to Blue Jackets in shootout

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Derick Brassard scored in the sixth round of a shootout, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 Saturday night for their fifth win to start a season and a very rare win over their Central Division foe. Columbus had not won an opener since Oct. 3, 2009, against Minnesota, and the Blue Jackets had won only once in Nashville in the previous...

The benefits of switching Gaborik to LW

Photo credit: Jim McIsaac One of the bigger stories during minicamp has been the position switch made by Marian Gaborik. Gaborik, a left-handed shot, has played the off-wing his entire career, until now. This season, Gaborik will at least start the year on the left side, with Derek Stepan as his center and Ryan Callahan as his right wing (the other top line is Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards...

NHL: shortened season, big expectations

The hockey lockout is finally over. The teams are back and ready for a season even if it is shortened. The big question is, who will come out on top and who will fall flat? Well, here are some predictions. The TOP Two Contenders for the Cup: The Los Angeles Kings: It is tough for teams to have a repeat win in the Stanly Cup Finals. No team has been able to do it since the Detroit...

Ty Anderson: The NHL Predictions Blog

Everybody has them. I'm sadly no exception. These are my predictions for the 2013 NHL season. Feel free to yell at me for not picking your team to win it all in the comments or on Twitter. Just don't hit me in the face, please. 1. New York Rangers I’m not picking the New York Rangers as the Eastern Conference’s best in 2013 because of the addition of top-line...

Blue Jackets 3, Predators 2, SO

Derick Brassard scored in the sixth round of a shootout, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 Saturday night for their fifth win to start a season and a very rare win over their Central Division foe. Columbus had not won an opener since Oct. 3, 2009, against Minnesota, and the Blue Jackets had won only once in Nashville in the previous 20 games. They needed...

Bruins 3, Rangers 1

The New York Rangers (0-1-0) lost to the Boston Bruins (1-0-0) by the score of 3-1, tonight. For a box score, visit Yahoo! Sports. ...first off, man it was amazing to be watching hockey again. Felt like a huge void was being filled. ...unfortunately, the Rangers play had many of us wishing the lockout was still going on. Having said that, it's the first game and as Adam...

The Goal Breakdown: Rangers at Bruins

If you want one word to sum up the New York Rangers tonight feel free to use sloppy. The Rangers were defeated 3-1 by the Boston Bruins and were second best in almost every facet. Throughout the season the goals in each game (as well as a brief game summary) will be broken down right here so keep on coming back. Let’s get in to it. Boston 1 Rangers 0 The Rangers got caught on a...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.