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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Tortorella sees Nash as good fit with Rangers

Friday, 08.17.2012 / 9:02 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

John Tortorella has yet to speak to Rick Nash in person, but the New York Rangers coach likes what he's heard.

"The thing I like about Nash -- and I haven't even met him face to face -- in one conversation with him, he's all business," Tortorella told the website Blueshirts United on Thursday. "Everyone I have talked to about him says he's not a real high-maintenance guy -- [he] wants to play hard, wants to play every day and practice every day. I think we have him at a really good time in his career, and I think he's going to fit in with us tremendously."

Tortorella, known for his no-nonsense approach and the competitive nature of his teams, is confident Nash will fit in despite never winning a Stanley Cup Playoff game -- the Blue Jackets made the postseason once in his nine seasons with Columbus.

Rick Nash
Rick Nash
Left Wing - NYR
GOALS: 30 | ASST: 29 | PTS: 59
SOG: 306 | +/-: -19
"We did some homework on Nash -- [Brad Richards] knows him a little bit, I talked to other players in the League and to coaches that have coached him -- and it is the right fit," Tortorella said. "And it is the right time of his career to be here. I think he has the hunger to get there and become that go-to guy in the playoffs."

Nash was acquired in a trade July 23, with New York sending Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick to Columbus.

Tortorella coached the Rangers to the best regular-season record in the Eastern Conference last season and led them through two rounds of the playoffs before they were eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Nash is expected to help an offense that struggled to score at times during the season and again in the playoffs; the Rangers were 11th in goals per game in the regular season in 2011-12 at 2.71, but averaged 2.15 goals per game in the playoffs.

"In Nash you are bringing in one of the top power forwards in the National Hockey League," Tortorella said. "We're very excited to have picked up a player that we think is just going to bust out and get to the next level of his career coming to the Rangers."

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round