Rick Nash Returns To Practice With Team

The Rangers held a full team morning skate on Tuesday at the MSG Training Center, and there was quite the sight for sore eyes for the Blueshirts Faithful.

Rick Nash took part in Tuesday's morning skate, the first time that he has skated with his teammates since the Blueshirts 2-1 victory over the Capitals nine days ago. Nash has missed three games, and did not join the team on its just-completed road trip to Ottawa and Montreal, due an unspecified injury---or injuries. And though he was not sure he could play this evening against the Jets at The Garden, Nash was just thrilled to be skating with his teammates again.

"I feel better, and it's a positive day for sure when you get back out and skate with the guys," said Nash, who wore a normal blue forwards jersey and not a non-contact one this morning. "I don't know about tonight, obviously I have to talk to the trainers, but it's definitely a good day. After last week and today it'd definitely heading in the right direction which is a big positive."

Nash said that he began skating on his own last week, though today was the biggest test skating with his teammates and with increased pace. The Rangers leading scorer stayed on the ice a bit after everyone else this morning so that he could work on his shot against backup goaltender Martin Biron.

When asked about the specific nature of his injury, Nash was not specific in his response.

"A lot of different things," replied Nash. "I've been banged up quite a bit, and obviously did not feel like I could compete out there. It was a bunch of different things, and I don't really want to go into what it specifically was, but there were a bunch of different things where I wasn't able to play."

The Rangers have scored just three goals in the three games Nash has missed, going winless (0-2-1) in that span.

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While Nash, Darroll Powe, and Michael Del Zotto all took part in the morning skate Tuesday, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, and Arron Asham did not. McDonagh was hurt when run into the glass in the second period Saturday night in Montreal and did not practice yesterday, while Asham will be missing his third straight game due to back spasms.

As for Staal, a Rangers spokesperson said that the reason for him not taking part in the skate had nothing to do with any injury, but would not elaborate further. Staal did play Saturday despite having a case of the flu, and did take part in Monday's practice.

Steve Eminger looks to be in the lineup tonight, his first game playing since being recalled from his four-game conditioning stint with the Connecticut Whale. And Stu Bickel wore a blue forwards jersey at the skate, meaning that either he or Chris Kreider likely will play on the fourth line tonight with Jeff Halpern and Brandon Mashinter.

No official word on the lineup is expected until later this afternoon.

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The Winnipeg Jets enter Madison Square Garden looking to end a successful five-game road trip on a high-note. After defeating the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon, the Jets improved to 3-1 on the trip.

 

"We have the chance to make it a great trip, and that's what we're focused on," Jets captain Andrew Ladd told reporters following the team's morning skate at the Garden. Like his team, the 27-year-old has had a strong trip away from Winnipeg, posting three goals and three assists in his last four games. "[The Rangers are] obviously a team that's in front of us in the standings and a team we're trying to catch up to. Another four-point game and a big one to cap it off."

 

Ladd said the Rangers are a "hard-working team that can skate and check really well," and added his team has to have the right mentality entering into Tuesday's game. "We understand the type of team they have and what we're going to have to do."

 

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien skated with the team during the skate and Jets head coach Claude Noel said he will play against the Rangers. He suffered a lower-body injury on Sunday against the Devils.

 

Noel said that despite their recent struggles, the Jets know how good the Rangers are and must be ready for what he expects will be a strong push to start the game.

"They're going to come out and play for the lead — and they'll play hard for the lead," he said. "They know how to win. Let's be real. They've done it all last year. I'm sure they're going to try to use use for a springboard to success. We need to be ready to play."

So how happy were you to hear about Rick Nash's return to practice? And do you think even if he doesn't play tonight, the team will be lifted by this positive news? Share your thoughts below.