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Should NHL, PA press teams to be more forthright on injuries?

Rick Nash (61) shoots the puck past Tampa

Rick Nash (61) shoots the puck past Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon (32) to score during the third period of a game in Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2013) Credit: AP

I think so.

The Rangers skate at noon Wednesday before leaving for a two-game trip to Canada, and the top issue is the health of Rick Nash.

Is Nash having a recurrence of the groin injury that he sustained while playing in Davos during the lockout? Is it a shoulder or neck problem that’s kept him out of Saturday’s practice and Tuesday night’s dreadful sleepwalk against Montreal at the Garden?

Or is the Rangers’ leading scorer suffering from some post-concussion symptoms dating back to when his head was driven into the boards by Boston’s Milan Lucic several games ago?

Nash, who has played two games since the Boston match, which he finished, told both me and Andrew Gross of The Record after Sunday’s game against Washington, during which he played his usual 20-plus minutes, that he wasn’t ill, just body aches that needed rest and dismissed any suggestion that he ever thought of not playing after taking warmups, even though he was officially a game-time decision. And he noted that he played a lot of games already, in a reference to Davos.

Still, Nash practiced Monday, then came Tuesday’s late scratch.

You’d like to believe what Nash said, and I do, but was there a setback?

The team isn’t providing any update, shutting down the info stream, which generally is pretty good. So far, they're not saying whether he took a baseline concussion test, not even the fallback “upper or lower-body” explanation, which inevitably leads to speculation that no one wants to mention concussion.

You can blame the Rangers if you want, but the league -- which gives plenty of lip service about trying to prevent head injuries -- needs to take charge in cases where a club is too silent on the health front. Instruct the teams to be more specific. The NHLPA, which pressed for an added role in player safety issues during the lockout, should tell teams to be more forthright as well. After all, they represent the guys in uniform, right?

New York Sports