Here is part two of the questions. Just like last week, the questions are in bold and my analysis is in italics underneath.
What do you think the potential is for Nash with Brad Richards? What skills does Nash have that makes him a perfect fit for being on a line with Richards?
This is an interesting one. Back when Richards originally was on the trading block in Tampa Bay, it's believed that Columbus was very interested in him, and that Richards liked the idea of playing with Nash. I think Nash's ability to break through defenders and go to the net should make him a good fit for Richards to set up in offensive situations, or even to start breakouts from the defensive zone to create scoring opportunities, but we all thought that Nash and Jeff Carter would click that way, too, and we never really saw it happen. I think for Nash to work best he needs a guy who is willing to move the puck to him unselfishly, much like Manny Malhotra or Andrew Cassels did, but I'm not really sure that's a setup that will work in NY when there are other guys who are used to being the Big Gun. I'm interested to see how he adjusts.
I'm not overly worried about this. Richards should work very well with Nash on his wing. I think the biggest issues Richards had with Marian Gaborik early on was that Gaborik is a sniper who relies on his speed, Nash is a guy who gets into position and then takes his shots. That's the type of player who should mesh well with Richards. As for Nash and Carter not working out, I think Carter not wanting to be in Columbus at all didn't help matters.
Join me after the jump for more.
The power play was a big issue for the Rangers last year. How was Nash on the power play? Did the offense run through him? How did it work?
Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, and even Ken Hithcock have had issues getting the PP to work as effectively as possible with Nash. A lot of setups had him working from the half boards to drive the puck around and set up tip in opportunities for guys like R.J. Umberger and Vinny Prospal, but I think he was most effective when he got to go in front of the net and put his body to use. He has insanely good hands in close quarters, and I think he could be very effective if asked to work inside the circles and around the crease. He does have a good shot and can use that if given room, but that never seemed to quite work in Columbus - though I admit that, again, if he clicks with Richards as a playmaker, it could be an explosive combination.
Just what the doctor ordered for the New York Rangers' power play, a guy who is willing to sit in front of the net. Nash isn't just a sniper, he's a BIG body. He can put that to use to screen the goaltender and put home any rebounds that come about from shots at the point or from the half boards. Then again, as mentioned above, if Nash and Richards click, Nash will be dangerous from anywhere on the ice. I'm excited to see what he brings to the table with the man advantage.
Nash says he's OK with the pressure of New York, but how do you see him dealing with it?
This is an area where I have my doubts. Nash is a quiet guy, and he doesn't like it when media "chase" him. Notice the fact that on the Jackets' end of season interview day, Nash ducked any and all media contact? Think he could get away with that in New York? I don't. I don't doubt that he wants to win there, and I am sure he'll put 110% effort in during the start of the season, but if he starts coasting or hits one of his all too frequent scoring droughts, I don't think he's going to like how he gets treated by the fans or media. There's a reason he didn't want to play in Canada and be under 24/7 scrutiny, and I understand him thinking that guys like Henrik Lundqvist, Richards, Gaborik, etx will help to shield him a bit (not to mention the general amount of athlete glitz in down with the Knicks, Yankees, Giants, etx), but I don't think he appreciates how anonymous he was able to be in Columbus, or how good the fanbase generally was about giving him a fair bit of personal space off the ice.
I would keep a very close eye on how he responds when the honeymoon ends.
I think the interview day ducking had more to do with Nash trying to avoid the trade talk rather than him actually not liking the media. Then again, New York is a MUCH different beast than Columbus is. Nash pointed towards his play in the Olympics for Canada as being a brush with major media attention, and I agree that experience is probably comparable. That experience, however, was for a couple of weeks. This experience will be for much longer. I personally thought Nash handled the trade situation well, which must have been difficult. We'll see how this plays out during the year.
Well guys, that's it for out half of the Q&A. Jackets Cannon is throwing my second round of answers up at 1 p.m. so make sure to give them a visit now and then.
Thoughts on this, though?