Pre-Game Notes On Nash, Segal and Asham

Rangers head coach John Tortorella met with the media two hours prior to his team taking to the ice for its home opener at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, and emphasized that he didn't think any of his players "played overly well last night" in a 3-1 season-opening loss in Boston.

That said, Tortorella did say he thought Rick Nash "played pretty well" in his Rangers debut. A bit later the head coach discussed Nash's unique skill set.

"He's the full package," Tortorella said of Nash, who assisted on Brad Richards' goal Saturday. "I don't think he's bashful at all about trying a lot of different things."

Tortorella also appreciated how Nash aggressively carried the puck to the net on several occasions to create scoring chances and draw key third-period penalty against the Bruins.


Forward Brandon Segal was returned to the Connecticut Whale after making his Rangers debut on Saturday night. Segal, who was in the lineup taking the place of suspended winger Arron Asham, had 5:21 worth of ice time against the Bruins, blocked one shot, and was assessed a second-period hooking penalty.

"I liked some of the things he did, and I like his size," Tortorella said of the 29 year-old Segal. "As I told him, I am concerned about the tempo, the speed of the game itself. It's something he'll have to work on (in the minors). But he's not done here."

With Asham's suspension from last spring's playoffs now completed, the 34 year-old veteran will make his Rangers debut this evening against one of his former clubs, the Penguins. The gritty Asham will start on the fourth line with Jeff Halpern and Mike Rupp, though Tortorella said he could find his way on to other lines this evening, too.

"I'm anxious to see him on that line, and maybe some others," offered the head coach. "He skates well, can make some plays, and obviously brings an element of toughness. I don't expect him to be a saint the way he plays, just want him to be smart."


Other than Asham's replacing Segal, the Rangers will use the same lineup as Saturday night, meaning Henrik Lundqvist starts in goal and Stu Bickel again claims the sixth defensive spot. Defensemen Steve Eminger and Matt Gilroy again will be healthy scratches.

Share your thoughts below on what Torts had to say Sunday afternoon, and let us know what you think of tonight's lineup.

Jan 20 - 9:53pm