During his pre-game press conference Tuesday afternoon before the Rangers were to take the ice against the Devils at Madison Square Garden, head coach Alain Vigneault announced that star forward Rick Nash will practice with the team for the first time since suffering a head injury October 8th in San Jose.
"He's going to practice tomorrow," said a grinning Vigneault, while cutting off a reporter's question about Nash. "Isn't that the news you wanted to hear today? Today I got the call after the morning skate that he was going to join the team tomorrow."
Nash took part in Tuesday's optional skate, the fourth straight day he has been on the ice with the extras and other injured players. Afterwards Nash expressed optimism that he could soon return to full practice, though he admitted that his conditioning was far from where it needs to be after a month's layoff.
Nash, Dominic Moore, and Justin Falk took part in a grueling conditioning skate at The Garden Tuesday morning, by the end of which Nash was clearly lagging behind the others. Nash later told reporters he was not discouraged by the fact his conditioning level needs to be raised, but instead was excited that he is headache-free and feeling better by the day.
Vigneault said that his plan was to integrate Nash gradually back into the normal routine, stating that he would begin by playing the role of eighth defensemen during practice for a couple of days before skating up front with the forwards. The head coach also said that he had no set timetable for Nash's return to game action.