Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rick Nash: The Eulogy

Rick Nash - For Sale
Sadly, the cornerstone of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Rick Nash was traded to the New York Rangers a couple of days ago.  I have spent the last two or three days reflecting on what I wanted to write, and trying to be optimistic in a situation that makes me really depressed.  He has been hands down, the best player on the team since I started really rooting for the Blue Jackets.  Some people have said that he has not done enough, I think that is funny, really.  It is rather hard to do much when you have to carry not only the flag but the entire team on your back.

As I was reflecting and thinking about how this eulogy for Rick Nash, far and away my favorite player on the Blue Jackets, there was one quote that kept coming to mind:
"There's still hope in one. Life as we once knew it is dead, pick up the pieces, saying goodbye has never been so hard." - Inhale/Exhale, a song called Redemption.
Inhale/Exhale's album featuring Redemption
Now I am sure I have taken this quote wildly out of context but for what I am trying to convey to said reader here is we have to believe that somehow this ship that is the Columbus Blue Jackets will go on.  Nash was the face of the franchise and that is over, its time for someone else to step up and take over.  Whomever that someone is, has some pretty big shoe, or skates is probably the better word, to fill.  Let's face it, given the opportunity one on one, Rick Nash is pretty dam good.

I think the biggest question for the Columbus Blue Jackets will be who will be the next captain?  This is another question I have been kicking around in my head for a couple of days.  I am going to be honest, I am not sure if anyone on the current roster is ready to be a captain in the NHL.  I think the best approach for the team would be to have 3 assistant captains, as opposed to 2 assistants and 1 true captain.  I believe if by mid-season someone has really stepped up, then make them the captain.  Nash's void creates much uncertainty for me on this topic.

I have also been fearing that this might be the beginning of the end of the franchise.  Let's be realistic with ourselves for one moment, this is the 12th season and the Columbus Blue Jackets have no playoff wins to show for.  They have only been to the playoffs one time.  The Hartford Whalers had been to, and won playoff series in the 1980s and early 1990s but they were still shipped away to Carolina.  I have to be honest with you when I think of the Columbus Blue Jackets future, I get really nervous.

Since we brought up the Hartford Whalers let's talk more about how this situation with Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets could possibly mirror the Hartford situation.  In the 12th year of the Hartford Whalers, 1991, traded Ron Francis, at the time one of the best players on the team was traded to the Pen-goons, and the same year the Pen-goons won the cup.  In the 12th year of the Columbus Blue Jackets, traded Jeff Carter, at the time of the best players on the team,  he went to the Kings, and in the same season, the Kings won the cup.

One trade that is all you have? Nah, the Hartford Whalers also traded away fan favorite and goal scorer, Kevin Dineen.  Oh, wait Rick Nash is a also a fan favorite and a goal scorer.  By the time Dineen was actually traded back to the Hartford Whalers, it was too late.  Dineen would score the final goal in Whalers history.  Will Rick Nash be sent to a similar fate?  We should mention that Dineen's final season was spent with no other then the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Also, in this eulogy and rant and rave or whatever you want to call it, it would be remiss if we did not talk about the GM Mr. Howson.  Howson as we all know, when we write his eulogy, hopefully coming soon, we will remember him as the man that threw Rick Nash, the franchise, under the bus.  Howson has done many many curious things in his career as the GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and there is no way in this life or the next that I will be able to understand them.  I just hope that at some point in his life, he apologizes to Rick Nash for the way this has all been handled.

To fully understand how bad Howson is for the NHL and the Columbus Blue Jackets, this is part of the press conference when he announces the Nash trade:
"We were not going to get a deal done until we got proper value. And that happened to occur today." - Howson
"The components of this deal were available at the deadline and again at the draft.  Was this true? - Darren Dreger, TSN
"I'd have to check my notes." - Howson
Are you serious Howson? I'll have to check my notes is best response you can come up with to a yes/no question.  All 3 of the players that the Rangers sent to the Blue Jackets were all on the Rangers' roster since last year.  The Rangers had the draft pick that was in the trade before, and after the draft.  No offense to Howson because I am sure he is a smart guy, I mean he is running an NHL team, but you look like an idiot when you say these kind of things.  Be honest, if you did not throw Nash under the bus you might not of had to trade him.

Unfortunately, that is not what happened, the only thing we can do, is carry what's left of the flag this season.  Hopefully, the team will play better then last year.  They have better defense-men than the past 5 or 6 years combined.  I think we need to wish Rick Nash well, because he is a great player and deserves a real shot at the cup.  I am not sure when the Columbus Blue Jackets will have a real shot, but I think we need to just keep hoping, like a Chicago Cubs fan, that one day, one day, my friends, it will be our turn to skate around with the Cup.