Hockey

Radio-Canada Sports - Monday Dec. 23, 2013 22:51 ET

Has Rick Nash's concussion hurt his chances of making Team Canada?

Olympic hockey power rankings: Week 12

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New York Rangers forward Rick Nash is struggling to find his form after an early season concussion. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

In Week 12 of our Olympic hockey power rankings, Guillaume Lefrançois of Radio-Canada Sports ranks 30 Canadian skaters according to their performance over the past seven days. Each week, Lefrançois and Tim Wharnsby of CBC Sports also debate one player in greater detail.

This week the discussion focuses on Rick Nash of the New York Rangers.

GL: It’s been a rough ride for Rick Nash so far this season. First, he had to adjust to a fourth different NHL head coach since the start of the 2011-2012 season. Then, three games into the season, he suffered his second concussion in eight months.

After putting up good numbers in his first seven games back, the 29-year-old winger now finds himself in a hole, production-wise, with only five points in his last 10 games. 

TW: I’ve always been a big Nash fan, but he hasn’t been the same player since he returned from his early season concussion. He still has 16 days to strut his stuff before Steve Yzerman names the Canadian roster and seven weeks before the Olympic hockey tournament begins. But Nash needs to exhibit he has overcome his head injury in the next few weeks.

If not, Canada has plenty of depth on the right side with the likes of forwards Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Claude Giroux, Jeff Carter and even James Neal. 

GL: If he remains healthy, there’s no doubt in my mind Nash belongs on Team Canada. We can’t say much about his two NHL playoff experiences, as they were in bad situations (the young Blue Jackets in 2009, the Rangers’ struggling offence last year). But his performance in Vancouver four years ago and his experience on international ice (numerous world championships, 17 games with HC Davos during the lockout) makes him valuable.

As to his rank in the team’s hierarchy, Stamkos is obviously your first-line right winger (if healthy). A red-hot Perry has the No. 2 spot. You would then have to pick two of Nash, St. Louis, Giroux and Neal. Tough choices lie ahead.

Forwards
1. Sidney Crosby

Key Stat: 8 more points, taking his streak of games with at least one point to 10
Guillaume says: Seen on Twitter this week: "Looks like a centre has been found for Chris Kunitz!"
Previous ranking: 1
  2. Ryan Getzlaf

Key stat: Quiet week until he exploded Saturday with 3 goals and an assist
Guillaume says: His talents as a playmaker are well known, but his 19 goals is astounding.
Previous ranking: 2
  3. Corey Perry

Key stat: Scored his 7th GWG, tops in the NHL
Guillaume says: With his 6 goals and 3 assists, he has made a huge contribution to the Ducks 8-game winning streak.
Previous ranking: 3
  4. Jonathan Toews

Key stat: No goals this week and only 1 in his last 13 games
Guillaume says: He makes himself useful in other ways, by playing regularly for more than 20 min per game.
Previous ranking: 4
5. Claude Giroux

Key stat: Figured in 11 of the Flyers last 21 goals
Guillaume says: Giroux has gone back to being the dangerous player he used to be.
Previous ranking: 8
  6. Patrice Bergeron

Key stat: 2 assists, 13 min of penalties, and a fight against Buffalo's Tyler Myers
Guillaume says: An unusual week for this excellent defensive centre.
Previous ranking: 6
  7. John Tavares

Key stat: Only 1 point in 3 games with a team that's sinking
Guillaume says: It will be interesting to watch him in the more positive environment of Team Canada.
Previous ranking: 7
8. Eric Staal

Key stat: Has obtained his 3rd point of the season while short-handed. Sharing the #1 NHL top spot this week
Guillaume says: He remains in the race for a winger's spot.
Previous ranking: 5
9. Patrick Sharp

Key stat: 1 assist in 2 games
Guillaume says: The Blackhawks' success will certainly not hinder his attempt to get a spot on Team Canada.
Previous ranking: 10
10. Martin St. Louis

Key stat: Has obtained 1 point in his 4th consecutive game on Saturday
Guillaume says: Only Sidney Crosby is used more than him amongst Canadian forwards.
Previous ranking: 11
  11. Logan Couture

Key stat: Held pointless in last 5 games
Guillaume says: An offensive slump for the young forward: 3 points in 10 games this month.
Previous ranking: 11
12. Matt Duchene

Key stat: 9 points in 4 games — all performances with more than 1 point each
Guillaume says: Hard to ignore him when you see Seguin among top-10 NHL scorers.
Previous ranking: 17
13. Tyler Seguin

Key stat: 2 more 2-point games
Guillaume says: He's doing all he can to force management's hand
Previous ranking: 12
14. Chris Kunitz

Key stat: 3 consecutive games with 2 points each
Guillaume says: He could hardly do anything more to prove his chemistry with Crosby.
Previous ranking: 15
15. Rick Nash

Key stat: Only 1 goal in his last 8 games and 0 for 2 in shootouts
Guillaume says: He's still struggling, and his team's failures do not help.
Previous ranking: 13
16. Mike Richards

Key stat: Held pointless in his last 5 games, 1 goal only during his past 20 games
Guillaume says: Lethargic, but he is maintaining an excellent plus-6 in December.
Previous ranking: 14
17. Joe Thornton

Key stat: 2 more assists for Jumbo Joe
Guillaume says: 2nd among the Canadian NHLers with 32 assists. Will it be enough for a spot on Team Canada?
Previous ranking: 16
18. James Neal

Key stat: 2 points in 2 games, despite Evgeni Malkin's absence
Guillaume says: Has his suspension impacted Team Canada management's opinion of him?
Previous ranking: 18
  19. Jamie Benn

Key stat: 1 point and a minus-2 rating in 4 games.
Guillaume says: Unfortunately for him, Steve Yzerman was watching him during his team's 6-2 defeat against the Avalanche.
Previous ranking: 19
  20. Steven Stamkos

Key stat: Suffered a broken right tibia on Nov. 11 against Boston
Guillaume says: Has started skating again, but won't likely be playing until February.
Previous ranking: 20
Defencemen
  1. Drew Doughty

Key stat: On the ice for 6 of the 9 Kings goals last week, for a nice plus-5.
Guillaume says: Martin Jones would not have known such a start of a career without the presence of No. 8 in front of him.
Previous ranking: 1
  2. Duncan Keith

Key Stat: A "light" evening of 28 min on Friday against the Canucks
Guillaume says: With 32 points and a plus-15 rating, he's already a serious candidate for the Norris Trophy.
Previous ranking: 2
3. Shea Weber

Key stat: 4 points in 3 games, and a ton of time on the ice.
Guillaume says: Has played a crucial role in the Predators' rise against the Canadiens last Saturday.
Previous ranking: 3
4. Jay Bouwmeester

Key stat: A plus-4 record in his last 2 outings.
Guillaume says: Always very efficient with Alex Pietrangelo.
Previous ranking: 6
5. Alex Pietrangelo

Key stat: 2 points last week, and 4 at his last 13 games
Guillaume says: The decrease in his offensive production does not place him in danger.
Previous ranking: 7
6. Brent Seabrook

Key stat: 1 point in 2 games
Guillaume says: His plus-18 rating is the 2nd in the NHL amongst Canadian defencemen.
Previous ranking: 4
7. P.K. Subban

Key stat: On the ice for only 1 out of the 9 goals allowed by the Canadiens, even though he played for more than 26 min each game
Guillaume says:  Has tightened his defensive game in the past two weeks, which is something that should please the decision-makers.
Previous ranking: 5
  8. Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Key stat: 1 assist in 3 games, a plus-1 rating
Guillaume says: Continues to discreetly fight for a spot on the national team.
Previous ranking: 8
  9. Dan Boyle

Key stat: Held pointless in 3 games after an incredible week
Guillaume says: At 37, can he remain productive all through the season?
Previous ranking: 9
10. Mark Giordano

Key stat: 2 more points for a total of 15 in 18 games this season
Guillaume says: There would maybe be more talk around him if he hadn't injured himself.
Previous ranking: N/R

Knocked off the list this week: Kris Letang

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