The New York Rangers are 1-2 after getting their doors blown off by the San Jose Sharks and Tomas Hertl, 9-2, on Tuesday night. They’re a wreck of a mess of a team, and can ill-afford any unanticipated adversity.
Like, for example, losing their best offensive player for an extended period of time.
But that’s the fear for Rick Nash after the Rangers star was hit in the head by Brad Stuart of the Sharks in the first period:
Nash left the game after skating just 5:53, although he did skate a few more shifts following the incident. He didn’t come out for the second period.
Stuart went off with an elbowing minor. It was his first game back for the Sharks after missing the entire preseason and first tow games with an injury.
Stuart has a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety scheduled, with the emphasis on an illegal check to the head. The issue here is whether this was a full body check that involved the head or if Stuart needed to avoid this approach because it put Nash’s head at risk.
Take a look at the reverse angle. Not exactly an elbow, but he got’em in the head:
A hearing would seem to connote … something for Stuart. He has no prior history with the DoPS, so that helps. Players in a similar spot have been given 1-2 games, if the NHL deems the hit worthy of supplemental discipline.
As for Nash … scary stuff. As he said on MSG Network last night (via SNY):
“I have a headache, it got worse. It was a head shot. I’m concerned the way it feels…You’re concerned any time there’s a head shot.”
You are concerned, “anytime you get a head shot you are concerned, you feel the way that it feels. It’s not a good feeling.
Nash has a concussion history, including last year’s “mystery injury” that ended up being a concussion caused by a Milan Lucic hit. From Blueshirt Banter last summer:
What is amazing is that Nash had two assists in the two games he played after being concussed from Lucic and then, after being out of the lineup for four games, returned to score six goals in his next five games. It is difficult to say if Nash struggled with lingering effects of the concussion throughout the season because of the nature of concussions and without knowing the severity of Nash's concussion but one would hope and expect that the organization would protect Nash and keep him out of the lineup if he wasn't feeling well enough to play.
He’s a resilient player, but the Rangers have to be cautious here. They need him in the lineup, badly, but Nash is too important to rush back.