November 25, 2011; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Rick Nash (61) celebrates his goal during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at Nationwide Arena. Columbus defeated Buffalo 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-US PRESSWIRE

Beyond the ‘C’: The Story of Rick Nash


March 23, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Rick Nash (61) lines up for a face off in the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Nationwide Arena. Columbus won the game 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

 

AGE

28

HEIGHT

6’ 4”

WEIGHT

218 lbs.

POSITION

Right Wing

DRAFTED

1st   Overall in 2002

Many people see Rick Nash as the best thing to happen to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Others would say he is trying to bring back a team that is long lost. Some would say both these things, and I’m one of those people. He is the face of Columbus. I couldn’t name you 5 other players from Columbus, I really couldn’t. He is a very good player no doubt, but is he the man for the job in Columbus? This is Beyond the ‘C’: The Story of Rick Nash.

Rick Nash started out by playing for the Toronto Marlboros in the GTHL, which is the Greater Toronto Hockey League. There, he recorded, in only 34 games, 61 goals, 54 assists, 115 points, and 34 penalty minutes. He was definitely good back then, and he move on to the London Knights of the OHL. I like the OHL mainly because I have a home team in the league, the Plymouth Whalers. I love to go and watch their games, because you’re never disappointed. In 2 seasons in the OHL, he combined for a total of 63 goals, 75 assists, and 138 points. Even though he started to slip, he bounced back to start his NHL career.

After being drafted in 2002, he started playing. In his rookie season, he played 74 games, and totaling 39 points. It wasn’t the best year for him, but he definitely stepped it up his sophomore season. He took his rookie total of goals from 17 and score 41 in his second season. This led him to tie Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. This season he had played in 80 games. But the next year ended in a lockout, so he did what every smart NHL-er did, he played elsewhere. He went on to the Swiss Nationalliga A (NLA) to play with HC Davos. In 44 games, he scored 26 goals and had 46 points, riding it all the way to the playoffs. In the playoffs, along with former NHL player Joe Thornton, HC Davos won, with Nash scoring 9 goals and 2 assists in the 15 post-season games. It’s sad to say that those were the better years for Nash.

On January 17th, 2008, Nash scored a goal that commentator s called the “goal of the year.” The goal would eventually go on to be the game winner. Here it is. Shortly after that game, on March 12th, 2008, he replaced recently traded Adam Foote to become the 5th Columbus captain. The next year he led the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It didn’t last long though. They were swept in the first round by the Detroit Red Wings. Nash only had 3 points in the four games. Detroit went on that year to defeat the Penguins of Pittsburgh in the Finals.

Another must-see video: A few goals by Rick Nash, including his first NHL goal at the end of the video, here is the collage.

Editor’s Corner:

Gary Gribbel is a well-spoken person. He says what he thinks, and I like that about him. He is the editor of Fire That Cannon, and here is what he had to say about Rick Nash.

“Most hockey fans know ONE thing about Rick Nash; he has asked to be traded. Here in Columbus, there is a lot of conjecture as to exactly why. While this issue is not the usual part of a Captains resume, there is probably an effect. We as fans are not ‘in the room’ for a first hand understanding of how the players act and feel, but some things do tend to leak out and as the old saying goes, ‘where there’s smoke, there’s more than a BBQ grill’.

Rick Nash was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002 and has only played for the Blue Jackets at the NHL level. He has played 674 games and is considered by all to be the best Blue Jacket Player and the face of the Blue Jackets. He participates in community activities and charities and particularly promotes children’s benefit programs. He is not married, but would be considered an ‘all American{Canadian} boy’

His performance and roll of Captain is a bit murkier. We as fans perceive him as a ‘best player, follow me type of leader/Captain’. It is pretty much an accepted fact that best players, do not always make the best leaders and Captains, and this is pretty much an accepted theory in Blue Jacket land these days. There has been a lingering feeling that the Blue Jacket locker room was too much Country Club and not enough hard work. This ‘Country Club atmosphere’ has been theorized for the last 5 years. Is this the Captains fault? Or does the Captain affect this, your call? Supporting this feeling is the fact that Vinny Prospal [a vet of over 1000 NHL games called out the team for lackadaisical practice habits earlier this year. Combined with several ex-Blue Jacket players making similar comments, makes you think there is some truth to that. However, during part of this time, Ken Hitchcock was the coach. If nothing else, Hitchcock is known to be demanding of his players. Those 2 thoughts just don’t seem to go together.

Most of Columbus now feels we need a leadership group, headed by the Captain who is more ‘bite em in the ass and let’s win and you’re accountable for doing it’ type than a ‘follow my example’ type which Rick Nash appears to be. Is he a good Captain? Probably yes. Is he a good fit to be the Captain at Columbus? Probably not at this time.” I would have to agree with him. I’m not sure Nash is ready to lead a team to the Cup or even the second round of the playoffs. They need someone else, and they need to let Nash go somewhere else. That is the only way Rick will win a Stanley Cup, is by joining another team.

Closing Argument: Rick Nash is a great player. They wouldn’t have drafted him first round if he wasn’t/ He can play really well and he has a great shot at leading an ailing team to the promise land, just not this one. I think Columbus is too far gone. Will they ever come back, sure. I think they can make the playoffs again within the next few years, but under a new captain. I just hope to see them come back to the playoffs. That’s my thought.

Rick Nash’s story has been told. I want to know what you think. Give me a shout-out on Twitter or e-mail me at [email protected]. Next up in the series, is Philadelphia ready to face the music and realize it’s time to move on? It’s Beyond the ‘C’: The Story of Chris Pronger.

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