Yesterday I wrote an article about how Columbus Blue Jackets fans should welcome former Captain Rick Nash back to Nationwide Arena. Up until last night, Nash had shown nothing but class and respect for his former team and city. When he faced his former team at Madison Square Garden nothing of notoriety really occurred. I honestly felt that there really wasn’t anything worth booing there.
Then Rick Nash turned into a total heel last night and made me regret yesterday’s post. Earlier in the game, Nash and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky mixed it up a little when Bobrovsky delivered a healthy jab of his stick that took the Rangers forward down, much to the delight of the crowd at Nationwide Arena.
Things really boiled over in the second period, when Nash had a breakaway chance that ended in a disallowed goal because he interfered with Bobrovsky on the play. Out of frustration, or because Bobrovsky pretended to hand Nash’s stick back to him, only to throw it down on the ice, Nash delivered a swift two handed punch to Bobrovsky’s face.
The linesmen jumped in to prevent the situation from getting out of control, but with that push, Blue Jackets nation completely turned on Rick Nash. He was loudly booed every time he touched the puck, and a lot of four letter words were sent his way via social media.
Getting under each other’s skin is a part of hockey, but when I saw Nash punch Bobrovsky, I knew there was no way I could justify Jackets fans not wanting to boo Nash. With that move he touched the goaltender and disrespected a fan favorite.
Things did not end with the Bobrovsky incident, as early in the third, Nash and Matt Calvert got tangled up, dropped the gloves and traded a few punches. Nash claims it was retaliation for Calvert cross checking him in the head and saying he was going to go after him. Calvert claims it was for the gutless move of attacking Bobrovsky and “having him pay for what he did”. [ SNY ]
I am not going to say what Nash did was disrespectful / gutless, he was just playing his game. However, I think last night provided the closure Jackets fans needed. The tribute video in the first period will likely be the last gesture of goodwill from the Columbus Blue Jackets for awhile.
All in all it was an entertaining game and shows that while Pittsburgh may me the geographic rival of the Jackets, it will be the New York Rangers who will be the true emotional rival.
So, as I said on twitter last night, thanks for making me look like an a**hat on the internet Rick Nash. Jackets fans, the show isn’t over, it is just beginning. Boo to your heart’s content.