There is one magical play, a flash of eight seconds, which encapsulates everything Rick Nash. It’s one of the best sequences of dangles hockey has ever seen. To me, it’s a goal from a Hockey Hall of Famer.
First, he shows his power stride, bursting down the middle to beat the near side defender. As help comes, Nash uses elite hockey sense to compute he needs to get creative. It’s one-on-two now. In the blink of an eye, he teases the original d-man, showing him the puck then pulling it away like a David Copperfield illusion, with mitts as soft and silky as a marshmallow. Suddenly he is face to face with another obstacle, which he turns into a pylon.
Another supernatural move, this time displaying his incredible knowledge of how to use his reach and showing off elite edge work. The goalie flails with a poke-check and Nash for the briefest of seconds loses control of the puck. But he is so locked in, so laser-focused, a simple kick from skate to stick is seamless as he taps the puck into the yawning cage.
In this one goal, you feel the brilliance of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ greatest ever. You see the skill, brains and passion of a superstar. And you know he is special. Because while this goal puts everything in one tidy package, Nash’s entire career is what he should be measured on. And that…