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Report: Ex-Bruins RW Nash not retiring, waiting to be healthy

Matt Kalman
October 09, 2018 - 4:00 pm

In his first public comments since the Bruins packed up their equipment and left for the offseason in May, former Bruins forward Rick Nash told The Athletic he’s still not retired but he doesn’t feel healthy enough to resume his NHL career.

“I miss it; I love the game,” Nash told Aaron Portzline of The Athletic. “The game has been my whole life, so it’s been a hard adjustment to not show up for training camp, for fitness testing … it’s been really tough.

“But my family is what’s most important to me, and I have to get my health in the right spot before I figure out what my plans are, and I don’t know when that will be.”

Nash, 34, became an unrestricted free agent July 1 but was honest with general managers, including Bruins GM Don Sweeney, about his uncertain status. He had a history of concussions and missed the final 12 games of the 2017-18 regular season after he was hit high by Tampa Bay’s Cedric Paquette.

Nash had six points (three goals, three assists) in 11 games prior to the injury after he was acquired in a trade from the New York Rangers in exchange for a package highlighted by center Ryan Spooner and the Bruins’ 2018 first-round draft pick. Nash returned for the Stanley Cup playoffs and had three points (one goal, two assists) in 12 games.

Days after the Bruins were eliminated in five games in the second round by the Lightning, Nash was asked how much longer he wanted to play:

“I don’t know, hopefully another few years. But this year with the concussion and all that, it was a bit of a setback. So I’ll take some time and talk to my family and friends and figure it out.”

As recently as last month Sweeney said he’d been in contact with Nash’s representatives, and there’s no doubt the Bruins will keep tabs on this situation.

Boston has already given Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato opportunities to play on David Krejci’s right wing in the spot vacated by Nash. Neither has played particularly well, and Monday, in the Bruins’ 6-3 win against Ottawa, Donato got just 10:19 of even-strength ice time.

If Nash could come back at full strength, he’d be a welcome addition to any NHL team, including the Bruins. But obviously we all know how unpredictable concussions can be, as we’ve witnessed here in Boston with the disparate paths Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard each took after their concussions.

Related: Kalman: Playing simple hockey helping Bruins in early going