Rick Nash, superstar

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Shane Doan, until his wife arrived here yesterday, had been roomies with Rick Nash.

"I figured he could get all the goals for our room,'' he laughed. "Now that he has to get out of my room now, I guess I've got to get the goals for my room.''

If it was Rick Nash Night here Thursday it was Rick Nash Day here yesterday as dozens of media members from around the world descended on the Canadian practice where the man of the moment at the IIHF World Hockey Championships happily was one of a handful of Team Canada players at the optional session.

Doan watched the major media event with that smile which never seems to leave his face.

"You should have seen the bench,'' he said of the night before when Nash scored his sixth and arguably the best of this tournament. "You could see the guys looking at each other and saying 'Did you see that!'

"We're sitting there like fans. With the way he's playing with Joe Thornton, we're like fans watching them play.''

Because he's only 20, has only had one NHL season thanks to the lockout and played it in Columbus, Doan says the players are no different than most of the media and almost all of the fans.

DIDN'T HEAR MORE

"It's ridiculous we didn't hear more about him,'' he said of the former London Knight who shared the Rocket Richard trophy as he became the first teenager since Wayne Gretzky to lead the league in goal scoring with 41.

Nash has become a study so far at the Worlds and nobody, until his wife showed up, has had a better chance to study the native of Brampton, Ont., than Doan.

"He's such a nice kid,'' he said. "He's so respectful. He's remarkable. And the scary thing is that he's going to get better.''

There were so many players lining up to sing the praises of Nash, the coaches were left largely unquoted the night before.

"What he has ... you can't coach that,'' said Marc Habscheid. "The thing I've seen that I like best is the zest he has for the game. You can tell he loves to play the game.''

NO COMPARISON

Craig MacTavish says the coaches were talking and saying there's nobody really to compare him to, really.

"I can't think of a player who has the physical ability, the speed, the agility and the size. His lateral movement is phenomenal.

"The thing that has surprised me more than anything is his understanding of the game. You tell him something and the next time he's in the same situation, the exact same position, you can see the light go on.''

The non-stop raving about Nash appears to be having no effect on the kid, either. In fact, he seems oblivious to it all. "This is a little bit different than Columbus,'' he said. "We had two Columbus media guys and that was it.''

But he says it isn't spooking him.

"You guys are part of the game,'' he said. "I don't dislike it. Even if I did dislike it, it's still going to be there.''

Nash looked very much like he was liking it, but at the same time not letting it go to his head. "One day you can be a hero and the next day you can be a nobody. I've talked to a few people at home, friends and family. They're happy we're winning and that I'm doing well.''

With six goals in three games and as many as six games to go in the tournament, Nash has a shot at Eric Lindros's Team Canada record of 11 from 1993. Steve Yzerman scored 10 in 1990. Marcel Dionne potted nine in 1978. Dany Heatley won tournament MVP with eight last year. Somebody asked him about pressure to continue to perform.

"I'm 20 years old,'' he said. "I don't have any pressure on me.''


Videos

Photos