Nash would have made huge difference to Rangers

As Glen Sather slowly made his way down the hallway towards the New York Rangers dressing room, with his head down, as the only one in the building wearing a trench coat, you wonder if he’s thinking: Would any of this be different with Rick Nash?

Would Sather’s mistake-filled tenure of running the Rangers have been corrected in this strange playoff spring by completing the deal he worked so hard on and couldn’t find a way to make happen?

The Rangers aren’t exactly on the ropes but it’s just about 50-50 whether the top seed in the Eastern Conference advances to the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Just as it was about 50-50 they would survive the opening round, when they were primarily outplayed by the Ottawa Senators.

The Washington Capitals have been full value taking the Rangers to seven games, turning the series into Saturday night’s best of one. All this in a most unusual playoff spring.

When the post-season began, the assumption was the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins would be the toughest outs in the East. They both lost in the first round. And when the Philadelphia Flyers showed so much speed and gumption in Round 1, they emerged as logical favourites. Now, they’re gone.

The Rangers, first in the East but hardly anyone’s choice to make it through to the Cup final, play a game Saturday that may, in fact, define their season.
The Rangers made all kinds of offers for the available scoring winger, just not an offer the Columbus Blue Jackets were willing to take. Columbus wanted young Chris Kreider. The Rangers said no. Columbus wanted one of their top four defencemen. The Rangers said no. The Rangers offered up volume: First-round pick after first-round pick — this year’s, next year’s, a few other moving parts.

But imagine Nash with this Rangers team now.

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