The Columbus Blue Jackets are a bad team with a really good player. Their cornerstone since 2002 has been Rick Nash, a slick forward who scores goals, checks hard, and is considered to be a great team leader. So when the Blue Jackets and Nash mutually decided a change of scenery was needed, most people expected that Rick would be gone in a hurry. After all, his skill set was undeniable, and almost every playoff caliber team would be taking a hard look at him.
Except Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson wouldn’t make things that easy. When the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks and all the other teams with some prospects to move came calling, Howson was looking to dismantle the other team in a trade and get all the prospects possible for is one player. The asking price was heard to be two high-quality NHL players and two elite-level prospects. No team could facilitate that kind of trade. And even when some teams were willing to negotiate, Howson played the hardest of hardball. From the Sharks, Howson demanded Logan Couture. From the Rangers, he demanded Ryan McDonagh. From the very start those two players were untouchable, but Howson went chasing after them anyway, torpedoing his own chances to break a deal.
So even though his superstar player demanded to leave as the trade deadline approached (as was later revealed), Scott Howson still could not get rid of the guy. Instead, Nash was forced to sit this postseason out with a horrible team and a somewhat hostile fan base, who were upset by their captain’s decision to pick up the pieces and leave. So for a few more months, Nash and his teammates were left in an uncomfortable situation in Ohio. Should we make Nash relinquish his captaincy? Should we boo the man that we’ve hung our hopes on since our third season of existence? Howson’s inability to strike a deal turned his locker room into a social experiment, testing the fans’ loyalty to the team’s finest player and the roster’s respect for their captain who would rather be anywhere but in Columbus.
Now, as the calendar turns, still nothing has been accomplished. The landmarks dates are passing – draft day, the beginning of free ageny, development camp – and Nash is still sitting in his Columbus home, twiddling his thumbs. The only headway in this story was that maybe the Ottawa Senators finally offered something that Scott Howson agreed to late last month, but as it turns out, Nash never wanted to go there in the first place. He waved his no-movement wand to hold out for an American franchise. Since then, all has been quiet.
Still the reports are coming out that Columbus is still “actively shopping Nash”, but no rumors appear to be developing. And even more frustrating for everybody is the news that was released yesterday, saying the Detroit Red Wings made a “hell of an offer” to Howson. But Howson didn’t even blink. There was no callback, no negotiations, no counteroffers. Clearly Howson doesn’t want to have Nash stay in the division, but nearly everyone involved has lost their patience. Howson is rejecting deals, teams can’t afford the absurd asking price, fans are sick of chasing the rumors since January, and Rick Nash is still unable to look at houses in his new city, because he still doesn’t have one.
So I think I speak for everybody when I say that I’d like this Rick Nash charade to end now. The speculation is draining, the fans are restless, and the price is just too damn high. Very quickly, Howson needs to trade Nash so we can all go home and live happy, carefree lives again.
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