JP Pelosi offers uninitiated New York fans a breakdown of newest Ranger Rick Nash’s best goals.
Two goals down, about 38 to go. It’s still early days, New York, but you will fall in love with your new hockey hero, Rick Nash. Guaranteed.
Not only does Nash have a name befitting a Marvel comic book alter ego, but his frame is akin to that of Colossus, Captain America, or Thor. That’s right, in a league of extraordinary gentlemen, Nash stands out as big and fast, and wields an Easton-branded hammer, too.
But for those hardened fans reading this with a skeptical Larry David squint—chilled by the lockout, and presumably preoccupied with Carmelo—I offer you the following “Nash-Up” by way of proof: A Quick Guide To Rick Nash’s Unreal Arsenal.
Buzzing the Tower
We’ve already seen this move in New York. Nash is 6’4 and 213 pounds, and yet when he roars by the goal, off-balance, all twisted up and digging the puck from under his skate, he somehow always rights his trajectory for the finale. Just like Maverick buzzing the tower in Top Gun. “I feel the need…!”
The Flux Capacitor
How about Nash’s acute-angled slap from the right-wing circle, an impossible charge that sends us back to the eighties, when Mario Lemieux scored on similar impossibilities. In this instance, the goalie ends up spinning on his rear wheels, throwing his head about desperately looking for the puck and screaming, “88 miles per hour!”
The Pants Down
You have to love the way Nash stops on a dime after rocketing down the right wing, threatening a straight up slap shot on the move—all a ruse, of course—and then guides the puck left, and quick-wrists beyond the leaning netminder. Stunned, the goalie turns to the net, then down at his shorts, which are now around his ankles.
Up, Up And Away
Three defenders breathing down his neck, one of them poking a stick into his spokes, never fazes Nash. He simply hauls the puck in at full flight, and deftly knocks it by the goalie on the backhand. All four foes are left reeling as Nash slides away on his belly, stretched out like The Man of Steel.
The Fender Bender
My favorite Nash move. He careens down the right with a defensemen closing in, the goalie set and ready, and instead of his usual outside-in jig, he prods the puck inside first, then just as quickly goes back outside, and finally shovels it into an empty net, while the goalie unwraps himself from the far post.
The Great Escape
Don’t forget the Nash pull-up on the shootout goal, the one where he does the equivalent of a Steve McQueen wheelie on one foot, dribbling before firing it high into the upper corner. Classic.
Here Nash uses his large frame to rip into the goal area from the left side, bearing down on the goal, suckering the netminder forward before blowing by him, and stuffing it into the back side with the outside of his blade. Tastier than Thanksgiving.
The Heat Seeker
Of course, Nash has also been known to poach goals from the rear of either circle, left-handed missiles that rattle through the air too quickly to see on replay, and too loudly to even hear NBC’s Doc Emrick in the booth.
We can only hope Nash’s greatest ever solo effort, a bob and weave, racing in between two defenders, bamboozling them, spinning them around with his puck handling, nudged inside, out, pulled back, then inside again, back out—headed left, or maybe the right, even—then back across the goal and finally into the net, will one day be repeated in the Big Apple.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez