The NHL and company have officially suspended Brad Stuart for three games for his hit on Rick Nash Tuesday night. From one angle, it looks as if Stuart got Nash with his elbow, and another with his shoulder, but none the less, a head shot is a head shot and it will get you suspended every time. Stuart was playing in his first game of the season when the hit occurred in the first period of a blow out of the Rangers.
What does this mean for the Sharks? Not really much of anything. They’ve been outstanding so far this season, even in the first two games with Stuart sidelined. So, more importantly what does this mean for the Rangers losing Rick Nash from their line up?
The Rangers have struggled a bit starting the season, they’ve lost two of three games, and the offense hasn’t been able to get the job done. The Rangers could have been mistaken for a back yard hockey team on Tuesday night when they were routed 9-2 by the Sharks.
So with a team that is already struggling early to get offense, or defense really, the Rangers lose a top scoring forward in Nash. Nash is a seven time 30 goal scorer, and was off to a nice start already. He hadn’t scored yet, but had added three assists,making himself a part of half of the Rangers offense this season.
Losing Nash is not a good thing for the Rangers. They need him to be healthy, and stay on the ice. This is his first full 82 game season with the Rangers, and he needs to make an impact. The loss in the offensive zone may not be replaceable and until Nash comes back from what is more than likely a concussion, the Rangers could find themselves getting buried even more often.
The Rangers are 1-2 looking forward, and their schedule isn’t getting any easier. They resume their west coast trip tonight in Anaheim, then have to play in St. Louis, Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Detroit. The Rangers are going to have to start searching for offense from somewhere because with their leading goal scorer from last season down and out for an unknown amount of time, they could end up at the bottom of the standings awfully fast at the beginning of the season.