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Five Questions: Nash with Rangers, without rumors

Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 6:00 PM / Five Questions With…

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com will periodically be doing a series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game today aimed to gain insight into their lives and careers.

This edition features New York Rangers forward Rick Nash:

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rick Nash is not only on a different team in a new city and conference at this year's trade deadline, mentally the New York Rangers forward is far more at ease knowing he's not the main subject of speculation and rampant rumors with the clock ticking down to 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Nash knows what it's like to be that player and he wants no part of it ever again.

Nash was the center of the trade universe last year, when as the captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets he privately asked to be traded and said it was for the betterment of the organization going forward because of the assets it could acquire for him.

Former Columbus general manager Scott Howson opted to hold on to Nash through the deadline, instead choosing to wait until July 23 to trade him to the Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and New York's first-round pick in 2013.

Regardless of the fact he wasn't traded at the deadline, the days and eventually hours leading up to last year's were arguably the most difficult of Nash's career in Columbus, where he instantly became the face of the franchise the moment the Blue Jackets made him the No. 1 pick in the 2002 NHL Draft.

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However, as Nash came off the ice following practice Tuesday at the MSG Training Facility, he was thinking only about trying to find a way to help the Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Trades and the Blue Jackets were the furthest things from his mind until NHL.com started asking him to rehash some of his memories of last year's deadline. He did that and more in this exclusive Q&A.

Here are Five Questions With … Rick Nash:

What are some of the memories you have of the deadline last year?

"To be honest with you, I've tried to erase all of my memories from the deadline last year. But the one thing that sticks out is the support I received from the players on my team and the fans in Columbus. Those are definitely the two things that stick out the most.

"I think it's pretty self-explanatory (why I've tried to erase the memories). I don't think I need to bring anything up from that situation. I'm sure people can put it together why."

Did you find the rumors and speculation difficult to deal with or was it something that you were expecting so you were prepared for it?

"I think it can be a difficult thing, but I think you hit it right on, I was prepared and I knew what I was getting into. The thing that made it easy is everyone in my circle, the fans, my family and the players, they all supported what was going on so that made my situation a lot easier."

Columbus was home for you for a while and you had professed a love for it, you signed a long-term deal there. But now is New York becoming home for you and are you comfortable here?

"New York is great. Home is always home in Canada, but I fell in love with Columbus and it is great. Here, though, it definitely is. Coming here as a tourist or a road city, when you just come in for a couple of days, you don't get the full experience of the city. Now living here, it's unbelievable. There are so many different areas, so many different things to do. It's definitely feeling more and more like home every day.

"I wouldn't say I'm a New Yorker yet, but somewhere in between there."

Describe what it's like playing for John Tortorella and is it anything similar at all to what it was like playing for Ken Hitchcock?

"It's different in so many ways and it's similar in some ways. They're both really intense. They both let you know what they think of you. There are no secrets for where he stands with you. There are no mind games. He lets you know. He's honest. In a lot of ways Hitch was like that too. I really enjoy playing for Torts. I think the way he understands the game and how he plays his players, it's really top notch."

With the Pittsburgh Penguins coming into town Wednesday night, this is a team that you guys not only haven't been able to beat, but you haven't even been close to yet this season. If you guys play the way you did against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, is that the type of game that gives you the best chance to win or do you feel there were still many areas that needed to be cleaned up?

"I think if you take the penalties out of that then we've got a good chance. We took too many penalties [Monday] night. Pittsburgh is a great team, but I don't think we've got enough time for a measuring stick game right now. We've gotta win. That's the only option: Win. We're in a playoff race, a battle, and whoever our opponent is the only thing that matters is the two points.

"We haven't been able to put that big streak together that we wanted to, but it doesn't matter now because we have to. It doesn't matter if we're going to, we have to do it now because we're running out of time."

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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild