November 14, 2008

Big Expectations for Oilers Draftee Nash

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After being picked 21st overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2007 NHL entry draft, sophomore Riley Nash came to Cornell in the face of big expectations. In his rookie season, Nash did not disappoint his coaches, teammates or the Lynah Faithful, as he performed exceptionally in all aspects of the game.
Nash’s line of 12 goals and 20 points in 36 games last year was good enough to earn him several honors and awards, including Ivy League Rookie of the Year and ECAC Hockey Freshman of the Year. Coming into this season, Nash is expected to provide even greater production for the Red.
“It’s definitely good to have a player of that caliber on your team,” said co-alternate captain Michael Kennedy. “Riley is a playmaker out there and a difference maker. We are definitely happy to have him on our side. He had a great year last year and we are looking for even bigger things this year.”
Nash noted that he spent much of last year learning to adjust to college hockey, and that this year he will be able to implement those lessons to improve his game.
“Coming out of [the junior hockey league], guys are bigger, faster, stronger at this level,” Nash said. “So I won’t have to take that first month this year to kind of get used to things.
“I got bigger, stronger and faster too,” Nash added. “So I think that I addressed some of my needs and I hope to just continue to get better and better.”
Nash has garnered national attention in preseason discussions this year. In fact, his name has been mentioned in some preliminary discussions of possible Hobey Baker Award candidates. While Nash appreciates the recognition, he is more focused on what he can do to improve and make his teammates better.
“It adds pressure but at the same time you just have to take it as a compliment,” Nash said. “People expect big things so you just try to go out there and produce and help your team win. If our team is winning then I am happy and I am sure that the accolades will come for other guys as well. We can all have a great season if we are winning.”