Headed to practice today and will have audio and reports (Twitter: @RangersReport) from there.
Meanwhile, here’s the story I wrote for The Journal News and LoHud.com about Rick Nash and Brad Richards looking forward to the post-season for different reasons, with completely different playoff histories.
By Rick Carpiniello
NEW YORK – Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan, who now skate with Carl Hagelin on their left, have become the Rangers’ No. 1 line by merit and also by default.
But as the No. 6-seeded Rangers head into the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, where they will meet No. 3 Washington for the fourth time in five years (starting Thursday and Saturday in D.C.), the Rangers need a lot from others.
And two of those others, who have clicked lately, have playoff pasts that couldn’t be more different. Brad Richards, who had a dreadful season but turned it around the last few weeks, has played 83 playoff games (27 goals, 77 points), won a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy.
Rick Nash has played four playoff games (one goal, three points), all of them losses with Columbus against Detroit in 2009.
The Rangers need offense from those two, who play with Mats Zuccarello on the other wing.
“It’s great,” Nash said after the Rangers’ season finale Saturday. “This is what you want to play in as a professional athlete – games that are meaningful, big games, playoff games and we’re there now.”
He’s not in Columbus anymore, though. He’s in the spotlight of New York.
“That’s what I signed up for,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. There’s not a bigger stage and I think great athletes love the pressure. You look at guys around the league, when a lot of pressure’s on them they produce at even a better rate. I’m sure most guys in this room understand what it’s like to play in playoffs. I’ll find out fast.”
Somebody asked Nash as he walked out the door if he there was anything from his only other playoff series he could take with him into this one.
“No,” he said with a smile.
Richards is just glad for the late uptick in his game, and for the chance to start over in Game 1.
“Next time we play it’s going to be a lot different,” he said after the 4-0 win over the already-eliminated Devils.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen but it’s a relief to get in and, yeah, it’s a great time of year. I’m excited and ready to go. This is by far the best time to play hockey and I can’t wait.”