Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bubble Hockey (Players): Rick Nash

[A SERIES LOOKING AT THE COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS' POTENTIAL TRADE CANDIDATES AT THE NHL TRADE DEADLINE]

Okay... everybody say it with me now... let's just go ahead and get it out of our systems...

OH MY GOD!!!! RICK NASH WASN'T IN PRACTICE TODAY!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!


(bad overdubs courtesy of yours truly)

FIRE!!!! BRIMSTONE!!!! PANIC!!!!

Give me a break... the fans and writers in other NHL markets pining for Rick Nash are like a quilting club this week.

No, wait... that's offensive to quilters... let's try again.

The panel on The View is more informative than...

...you know what, never mind. I'll stick with the quilting club analogy.

And so... the carousel goes 'round.

Rick Nash is now taking his turn as the Columbus Blue Jackets player around whom there is all the speculation of a blockbuster (or in the CBJ's case, a roster-buster) deal at the trade deadline, and officially giving up on this particular cast of characters in Union Blue.

It seems a lot of the chatter revolves around the fine fans of the New York Rangers or perhaps the Los Angeles Kings... or maybe those have just been the loudest (except maybe the Leafs). Regardless of the teams involved, the constant discussion of potential trade scenarios has almost become deafening.

Let me just say it up front. I don't see a Rick Nash deal happening. I would say everything has to fall very, VERY solidly into place for Nash to be anywhere but Columbus on February 28, when the Jackets take on Detroit.

This has nothing to do with sentiments. It has nothing to do with loyalty. Yes, Rick Nash is the face, voice and heart of Blue Jackets. Heaven knows he has succeeded and failed with the rest of this team this year... and he has not by any means been the best player on the ice this season.

However, I still think he's the guy. The captain. The cornerstone of this franchise's (next... *sigh*) rebuild. Again, that is not sentiment. That is business.

The front office has tried to build this team around Nash these past several years, and I don't see them stopping now. True... history will likely judge this year's team not so much by the blast of our cannon, but more comparably to that Mythbusters cannon incident back in December.

True... the addition of Jeff Carter has not yielded that "top line center/lethal top scoring line" thing that we have wanted and need for years in Columbus.

True... injuries are not an excuse -- I know that's a Hitch thing that I'll never let go of, although at this point, I'm starting to waver....

This team's performance is not Rick Nash's fault. It's the fault of every single player on that ice.

Now, that's not to say Nasher doesn't need some work. His game is more or less fine -- it still needs consistency, sure, but when it's on... he's ON.

However, the adjustment Rick Nash needs is in his head.

The dude's too damn quiet. Too damn diplomatic. That's a leadership style for some... but I don't think it works in hockey.

I'm not saying go all Ovechkin-style and start dishing out knee-on-knee hits, or check a ref through the glass or anything. Just... you know... get mad.

I'm also not saying call guys out in the media and/or throw guys under the bus.

Just... you know... get mad.

It doesn't have to happen overnight. Obviously, you can phase it in a bit. For starters, go a little... you know, go a little Network on 'em.



Anger can be healthy. Anger can also be honest.

If the team's playing like $#!+, tell the media, "You know what? We played like $#!+ tonight."

Come on, admit it... wouldn't you love to see Rick Nash go crazy? Just freaking lose it? Just once?

Rick Nash can be a great leader, but he has to want to be. Great leaders are not afraid to show a little passion once in a while. Hell, at $7.8 million a year, Rick Nash can afford a fine for dropping a few colorful four-letter words in front of the media corps in Columbus.

C'mon... when was the last time you heard a good, old fashioned {BLEEP} in a local sportscast?

That having been said, you can't completely rule out a trade involving Nash. I just don't think it makes business sense. The deal would have to be absolutely perfect. You'd have to be talking about a capable starting goaltender, some depth and/or maybe a first-rounder. And that's just to make this deal tolerable. Nash is a huge piece of this franchise. This franchise knows that it has to do some degree of rebuilding starting this month. But as many among the CBJ Blogging Community have discussed, the "nuclear option" is not how to do it.

The front office has to be thinking that the rebuild will focus on creating the turnaround the team and the fans want. The catch is that this turnaround has to be in the short-term, rather than the long-term. Jackets fans are already impatient... waiting a few more years for this turnaround won't be enough.

Trading away Rick Nash would very much set this team back, and do more harm than good.

Final Verdict...

SHOULD HE GO? Absolutely not.
WILL HE GO? Not very likely.

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Part 2: Jeff Carter
Part 3: Steve Mason
Part 4: R.J. Umberger

2 comments:

  1. While I agree with most of your points and I would certainly like to see the Jackets succeed with Nash, if I were Howson and the opportunity to plug a couple of holes and improve the team overall by trading Nash (Say, a starting goalie, a d-man or top 6 forward plus add-ons - prospects, draft picks, another player, or some combination of the three.), I do the deal.

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  2. Absolutely agree. But if and ONLY IF.

    We HAVE to be talking starting-quality goaltender, a WARM (read: functional, unlike the Vermette trade) body, and/or a decent/first round pick. Maybe a combination of two of those three.

    Howson holds the advantage in any Nash deal, and he knows it. Teams won't be allowed to underpay for Nash. If they do, it comes at Howson's peril.

    Thanks for reading... cheers!

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