It was the 9:15 mark of the second overtime of Game 5 in L.A., the Rangers were facing extinction, and here was Derek Stepan laying a gorgeous cross-ice pass onto the stick of Rick Nash for the right-wing one-timer into the yawning near side of the net that would send the Cup final back to the Garden. But in a flash, Slava Voynov frantically got his stick down in the shot’s path and Nash’s drive that was ticketed for the top of the net instead ticked off the shaft of the now disgraced defenseman’s stick and fluttered harmlessly away into the far corner. Instead of going home for Game 6, the Rangers were going home for the summer when Alec Martinez slammed home a rebound just over five minutes later at 14:43. And that, despite six pretty darn good seasons wearing Blueshirt No. 61, is the snapshot that captures the essence of Nash on Broadway: close, but not the closer management envisioned him to be in trading Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, a first-rounder and Tim Erixon to the Jackets for the 2002 first-overall selection in late July 2012. There never quite was a Nash Era in New York, even if at the time of the trade he was the fourth senior Ranger behind Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal and Ryan McDonagh in terms of continuous service. A chapter is more like it. That chapter ended Sunday morning, when the rebuilding Blueshirts dealt Nash to the Bruins for a 2018 first-rounder that projects between 25th and 31st overall; 20-year-old Golden Gophers sophomore defenseman Ryan Lindgren, the 49th-overall selection in 2016 who played for Team USA in each of the last two World Juniors; skill-oriented swing forward Ryan Spooner, a good skater with good hands who has appeared more comfortable in the middle but is certainly not out of the place on the win, where he skated with Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast in his Blueshirts debut; and Matt Beleskey, the winger who was once good in Anaheim years ago, broke Derek Stepan’s ribs with a late hit a couple of years ago in Boston on Black Friday and has been a cap-bury in the AHL since December.
Rangers score big in trade for star who just couldn’t score big one
New York Post | Feb 26