Why I Wish Rick Nash Were On A Different Team, And That’s AllowedShareThis
I’ve been on the receiving end of a fairly decent twitter-drubbing from Columbus Blue Jackets fans about a few Rick Nash tweets I made yesterday, especially about the comment that he’s “drowning” in Columbus. Which was a little much, maybe.
The intent was to praise Nash, not take pot-shots at CBJ, but I can fully understand why fans didn’t appreciate the barbs. For what it’s worth Jackets fans, if you follow me with any regularity, you’re well aware I’m consistent in my criticisms - my own favourite team (the Islanders) has been far from sarcasm-exempt on this blog and twitter.
That should probably make it hurt more, because it points to the fact that I’m usually without bias with those comments, meaning I wasn’t just taking pot shots without a point.
Let me explain myself:
I hate that Rick Nash plays for the Blue Jackets, because the majority of North America doesn’t care about the Blue Jackets. Ohio is a great hockey state, and there seems to be plenty of proud, smart fans of the team. But outside of that region, the national interest isn’t there. It’s in Original Six teams, Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and so on.
Thus, when games are televised in primetime, or the Winter Classic teams are selected, Columbus is nowhere near to getting a second thought about being picked. I know that hurts, and believe me, I can relate to that misery, but denying it is just silly fan bias thinking. In turn, I never get (nobody ever gets, actually) to see Nash play unless they have the NHL package or they live in Ohio.
I do have the package, but again, I’m just not that interested in Columbus as a team, so it’s not worth watching the games all that often just to watch one player. (Unless Lebron is playing. I’d tooootally tune in just to watch him. ….Oops, sorry Ohio )
Beyond that, I’m frustrated for him because he should be one of the top few names mentioned when someone talks about the best players in the game. If he played for the Maple Leafs or the Red Wings, best believe that would be the case. He’s just out of the national spotlight there.
It’s even more endearing that he’s so loyal about staying there, given that he’s aware of all the things I’ve written above. And better still, you know he believes they can win a Cup there in Columbus the way Carolina did in 2006.
And maybe they can.
But in playing for a team that doesn’t spend to bring in supporting talent, for one that instead shrewdly thrifts together a pretty good squad year after year, it greatly minimizes his Cup-winning odds. Yes, the odd team in history has gotten it done without spending a ton, but it’s a rarity. The playoffs are a long, tough grind that requires secondary scoring, tremendous defense and great goaltending. While possible, it’s tough (and rare) to acquire the whole package on a budget.
What that means then, is that a player who can do so much and be so great will swim upstream against the current until he’s forced to do the inevitable Ray Bourque-to-Colorado thing, and it may not work out. A guy who could have a massive effect on a Stanley Cup Final may never get the chance to live out a defining moment.
Like I said, more power to the guy for being willing to battle for that city, but as a fan of the game, I think I’m allowed to wish he were on a different team.
And something else to remember: just because I want him to go to a different team doesn’t mean that’s happening, like I’m the GM or something. A lot of the responses I got from Blue Jackets supporters were along the lines of “just let us keep him,” or panicky-sounding, frenzied keyboard mashing, like when you take a baby’s favourite stuffy away.
Uh…..fair enough, I guess?
The moral of the story is this: I’m sure Columbus fans wish, say…. I dunno, Shea Weber or some other stud in a small market like that were on the Penguins. He’s a great talent you’d like to see in primetime more, you’d like to see in the Winter Classic, you’d like to see in the late rounds of playoffs on a fully-funded team trying to win Cups, as opposed to a team that squeaks into playoffs and makes a first round exit.
It’s not gonna happen, of course, but from a fan’s standpoint, and the standpoint of the history of hockey, I feel like Nash is a diamond, locked in a safety deposit box for no one to see.
But Ohio, it’s your safety deposit box, and you get to see him plenty over the course of the season. So, enjoy him, root for him, and hopefully he can bring you that Carolina-esque Cup your fans deserve. But don’t hate on me because I want to have a peek at the stone once in awhile too.
Oh, and *ahem* …..sorry for the term “drowning.” ‘Twas a bit much.
Happy humpday, folks.