NEW YORK | Despite being “banged up,” in the words of coach John Tortorella, Rick Nash is in the New York Rangers’ lineup against the Washington Capitals on Sunday night.
Nash was considered a game-time decision, and Tortorella refused to provide any details about what was ailing his elite winger. Nash missed Saturday’s practice with what the team called an illness.
He’s listed in the starting lineup for New York.
When asked what Nash was testing on the ice during pregame warm-ups, Tortorella said: “None of your business.”
“I’m not discussing injuries,” he said. “We’re going to see how he is in warm-ups.”
Nash took line rushes with Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan, while Stu Bickel and Chris Kreider did not.
The Caps are well-versed with the Rangers, having seen them in the playoffs three of the past four years. The one major difference between the 2011-12 Rangers and this club is Nash.
“They were already a good team; if anything he enhances it a little bit, but every team’s good,” Caps coach Adam Oates said Saturday. “If you do your job your system should prevail. Yeah they’ve added another player but there’s still 20 guys playing on a given night. You’ve got to do your job.”
From the NHL roster, Rangers gave up Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky in order to acquire Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“Obviously they got Nash, he’s one of the premier guys in the league, but they lost a lot in giving up, too,” Caps goaltender Braden Holtby said. “A guy like Dubinsky was one of those guys that might not be as flashy, but he’s definitely a hard guy to play against as a goalie. I don’t pay too much attention like that. I don’t think they’re that much different than they were last year.”
Asked about the Caps’ changes from last year’s playoffs, Tortorella was not forthcoming.
“I have no idea about Washington,” he said. “I don’t care about Washington. I care about our club.”