For those looking for signs that Rick Nash's return to the Rangers lineup is sooner rather than later, the latest piece of evidence may have come on Monday's day off when the entire team--including Nash--stayed off the ice and away from the MSG Training Center. Rugged forward Brandon Mashinter was assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack, leaving the Blueshirts with 12 forwards on their current roster. Nash is currently on Injured Reserve along with Taylor Pyatt.
Mashinter, who had been a healthy scratch the past two games since Dominic Moore's return after a seven-game injury absence, appeared in six games with the Rangers, making his season debut on October 24th in Philadelphia. Mashinter totaled ten penalty minutes and was a minus-one, and played a season high 8:12 on November 4th vs. the Ducks at Madison Square Garden. He logged fewer than three minutes of ice time in two of the last three games he played in.
Seemingly this move would open a roster spot for when Nash is ready to play again. Nash said Saturday in Montreal that his hope was to return to the lineup after a 17-game absence due to a head injury on Tuesday when the Rangers host the Bruins or Thursday when the Blueshirts skate in Dallas to open a five-game road trip.
"Every day we just see how it goes, but he's the one who tells us where he's at, he's the one who knows his body best," associate coach Scott Arniel said of Nash on Sunday. "If he says he's ready to go Tuesday that's great for us. If he needs more days, we'll certainly have to be cautious."
Mashinter began the 2013-14 season with the Wolf Pack and registered four assists in six games and was a plus-three.