Conspicuous in his absence from Monday's opening night festivities at Madison Square Garden was Rick Nash, who suffered a concussion after a head shot from Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart on Oct. 8.
And based on what the Rangers are saying, which repeatedly has been "nothing new," it is likely he won't be ready by Nov. 7 for a scheduled game against the Blue Jackets. That contest will be his first opportunity to play in Columbus since the Blue Jackets traded him to the Rangers in July 2012.
Monday night's game against the Canadiens was the seventh in a row missed by Nash, who scored 21 goals in 44 games last season and was expected to be one of the club's top scorers this year. He certainly won't play against the Islanders Tuesday night. He never returned after the first period of the game in San Jose and has not skated since.
After the hit, the 29-year-old power forward, in his last interview before being sent back to New York for evaluation, said he "didn't feel right" and had a headache that worsened as the evening progressed. Nash is on injured reserve, but not long-term injured reserve. The latter could give the team some cap relief, but he would be ineligible to play for a minimum of 10 games or 24 days.
Nash, who has scored at least 30 goals seven times, also suffered a concussion in February on a hit by Bruins forward Milan Lucic. That time he missed four games before returning and playing well.
On the positive side, left wing Carl Hagelin is coming off long-term injured reserve Tuesday, and coach Alain Vigneault said of the 25-year-old Swede, who had 10 goals and 14 assists in 48 games in his second season, "That speed factor five-on-five and killing penalties should push the opposition and make them think a little bit. He's so quick and so dynamic that I'm looking forward to having him in our lineup." . . . Rookie Jesper Fast, who played in eight games and made his MSG debut Monday night, was sent to the AHL after the game.