Brad Stuart suspended three games after high hit on Rick Nash
ANAHEIM, Calif. - A day after being humiliated in a 9-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Rangers used Wednesday to regroup before playing their fourth game on a long, season-opening road trip against the Ducks, probably without star Rick Nash, who likely suffered a concussion on a high hit from defenseman Brad Stuart.
After a disciplinary phone hearing Wednesday with Brendan Shanahan, senior vice president of the NHL's Department of Public Safety, Stuart was suspended three games. But for the Rangers, who have fumbled through two of their first three games of a season that begins with nine road games, the problems may be mounting.
Several players, including captain Ryan Callahan and Henrik Lundqvist, said the team was "embarrassed" by Tuesday's effort in San Jose. Derick Brassard called the performance "ugly." The starkest postgame assessment came from defenseman Marc Staal, who referenced a 10-2 loss in Dallas on Jan. 6, 2009: "I think this was much worse."
Lundqvist, who was left out to dry by a defense that could not keep up with Sharks and lacked any battle level as San Jose pulled away, said: "They did exactly what they wanted to do out there. The difference between the two teams -- the way they played, the way we played -- was just too big . . . We talked about things after the game. They had a lot of desperation and we have to match that. We had some time to think about what happened and now it's time to forget about it, but you definitely have to learn from what happened and what do we need to correct and do better, then move on, and do it fast."
Judging by his postgame comments, coach Alain Vigneault would have preferred to practice Wednesday, but could not because of the league's collective bargaining agreement, which restricts practices on the road and when three games are played in four days. Instead, Vigneault may change lines and defensive pairings against the Ducks.
The Rangers did not update Nash's condition or summon anyone from the minors. The only spare forward is rookie Jesper Fast, who played in the opener, a 4-1 loss to Phoenix.
Nash, who played seven more shifts after Stuart's hit at 2:32 of the first period, said afterward that he had a "headache," but didn't feel it at first. "It got worse as it went on. It just didn't feel right. I haven't seen a replay, but he caught me right across the head, so, I guess it's a head shot. I felt it right across here," pointing to the right side of his face and jaw.
"Anytime you get a headshot you're concerned, to feel the way it feels. It's not a good feeling."
Nash previously suffered a concussion in February 2012 on a hit from behind by Boston's Milan Lucic and was on injured reserve for four games.