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Columbus GM Howson: Nash came to us and asked to be traded

Feb 27, 2012, 5:10 PM EDT

howsonap AP

Any chance of Rick Nashwho wasn’t traded before today’s deadline — staying in Columbus past this season appears to have flown out the window.

That’s the feeling after Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson conducted a post trade-deadline presser…to tell reporters Nash instigated trade talks by asking for a move out of Columbus.

Yes, seriously.

“He approached us and asked us to [trade] him,” Howson said. “It’s too important for [us] to not make a deal in our best interests. He’s a member of our team. He’s our captain. That’s not going to change.”

Howson said Nash asked for a trade “in the middle to the end of January,” something that took him and the organization “a while to digest.” Howson then re-iterated the Jackets wouldn’t be pressured into moving Nash at the deadline.

“There were very few sellers, that’s why the market was so tight,” Howson explained. “The market will be quite a bit looser in the off-season. Many more teams expressed they’d have more interest in the off-season…We talked to every team.”

Howson’s strategy (assuming there’s a strategy) is fairly unprecedented. One, it chucks Nash so far under the bus he’s licking axles — how is he supposed to finish the year with a “C” on his jersey?

Two, it reeks of the inmates running the asylum. Even if your players are running the show, you should at least try to give the perception that you’re in charge. Because, you know…you’re in charge.

Predictably, Howson has come under fire in the media.

Mark Spector, Sportsnet: “How about that dressing room in Columbus, where the captain can’t get out fast enough. Can he say, “Follow me, boys!”

Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “With Howson revealing that Nash asked for trade, atmosphere in Columbus could get to be more toxic than the one on Venus.”

EJ Hradek, ESPN: “CBJ GM Scott Howson says Rick Nash approached the team about a trade. No doubt, this relationship will end this summer.”

Bruce Arthur, National Post: “So after being painted as the villain of the piece by his GM just now, I’d like to hear Rick Nash give his press conference.”

We’ll follow-up with more quotes from the Howson presser shortly.

  1. govtminion - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:22 PM


    • danphipps01 - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      Brilliant, isn’t it? Take a man who captains your team, who’s tried for years to make it win despite your every trade and draft day making it more and more impossible to accomplish that, a man who’s an Olympic gold medallist, an All-Star and a highly-sought asset, and disrespect him in public. GENIUS.

      Christ, I don’t think I truly understood how bad it was ’till now. Columbus fans… dear God, I am so sorry. D:

      • govtminion - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        Sums it up perfectly. Tack on the part where Nash has been nothing but the consummate professional the whole time, hasn’t once (that I’m aware of) raised a stink about how poorly managed the team is… and then gets tossed under the bus today.

        I was starting to think Howson might actually have been on a roll with the Carter trade and some of today’s actions. I’m pretty sure he’s functionally retarded now.

  2. sportsfreak13 - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Totally unprofessional and uncalled for.

  3. brklynblueshirt - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Strategic genius. . . throw your best trade chip and the face of the organization under the bus for no discernable gain whatsoever. I think Moosejaw may have a new Zamboni operator this offseason.

  4. alexb64 - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Well so we know Rick Nash will still be with the Blue Jackets come draft time, I don’t think Howson should be counting on the same guarantee for himself.

  5. whatswellydoing - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Yeah if I owned the Jackets, Howson would be out of a job very soon.

  6. sharksfan754 - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    I don’t think Howson should be running a fantasy Hockey team let alone a NHL Franchise

  7. pens919209 - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    If the Blue Jackets had smart ownership, they would have called a press conference immediately after this to tell everyone that Scott Howson came to them and asked for a pink slip, a wish that they were eager to grant.

    Then again, if they had smart ownership, they wouldn’t be in this mess. That organization is in desperate need of an infusion of intelligence and class.

    • govtminion - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      The intelligence part we’ve known for a while based on their drafting (Nash being the nut that the blind squirrel finds)… but until today I never thought that a lack of class was an issue. Maybe it’s not fair to say it still about the organization on the whole- but for Howson, acting as the face of that organization, he sure seems to lack any for sure.

      What a mess. To hell with Nash deserving better than this- the fans in Ohio deserve better than this.

  8. tribesofneurot - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    How does this clown still have a job?
    If I was the owner,I would have walked up to him and fired him right at the press conference.
    What an asshat.

  9. geo91 - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Nash should completely waive his no trade clause if he indeed wants out, don’t handcuff the franchise that got him paid into a deal thatl leave them even more depleted than they already are

    • sportsfreak13 - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:48 PM

      he has 7 years left on his deal. If he has the right to pick where he wants to live/play for his future why give that up. He has to do what’s best for him, the organization likewise. He doesn’t owe the blue jackets the right to expand his list, just like the organization didn’t owe him the right to trade him well before the deadline (like his agent was asking for). They need to find common ground and clean this mess up.

  10. pavelfitzgerald - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Howson = the NHL’s version of Al Davis
    Although, at least there was an excuse for Al Davis making bad move after bad move as he was the owner & had no one to answer to. Howson on the other hand should have someone to answer to but clearly doesn’t.

  11. stakex - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Everyone knew Nash was the one behind this (who can blame him)… but the GM shouldn’t come out and say that. Very un-professional.

  12. habsman - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    What did Howson say that wasn’t true?

    So in addition to paying Nash over 7M per year, the Preds are also responsible for protecting his image in a town he ultimately wants to leave?

    If Nash really had some balls, he would have called a press conference last month and told the fan base he had requested a trade. Instead he was happy to allow the team to look like the bad guy.

    • taytay099 - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      He probably is sick and tired of the piss-poor management of CBJ. It would be unprofessional of him to make a public statement just like it was for Howson. Nash is a classy guy who has put up with playing for an under achieving team on the ice and in the stands. If he made that statement it would alienate whatever fans this team still has.

      Also, what makes the team look like “the bad guy” by trying to trade him? If no one knows he has asked for a trade then no one is “the bad guy.” You don’t throw your captain and fan favorite under the bus.

    • danphipps01 - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:09 PM

      Figures that habsman of all people can’t figure out why this is classless, doesn’t it?

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM

        “Instead he was happy to allow the team to look like the bad guy.”

        The team didn’t look like the bad guy for not trading him. The team now looks like the bad guy because their GM decided treat Nash like dirt.

  13. east96st - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    To all my fellow Jacket fans and season ticket holders – Have you called up your rep and told him/her where to stick next year’s tickets NOW??? This is, partly, our fault. As long as we buy the tickets, these assclowns will own and run the franchise. I told my rep weeks ago where to put next season’s tickets and exactly how far up he should push them. Join me or accept blame yourself for this disaster. It should be painfully obvious to EVERY Jacket fan now that we need new ownership and a new front office. It simple does not get more incompetent and more asinine than this. Either walk away and force a sale by emptying out Nationwide or realize that this will go on for years. Your choice. Love the team and want them to stay, but there’s a difference between love and an abusive relationship.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:49 PM

      this anger reminds me of how I felt when my beloved Stars left Minnesota. I am so sorry.

      While you’re at it, are you guys willing to trade Yakupov for let’s say ‘Pierre Marc Bouchard’… I kid, I kid

  14. rsl22 - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Howson didn’t lie to the masses. Nash was the one that asked for a trade, he has a HUGE contract and then limited Howson to 5 teams. What was the guy supposed to do? Did you all expect him to deny that Nash asked for a trade and then pigeon-holed the team on who he would accept a trade to?

    With Carter as a real center finally, Nash was having his worst year and has the worst +/- among all forwards in the league. Great, Nash had a good Olympics…shocking he could play well with 17 all-stars surrounding him. Ovechkin has better numbers than Nash in fewer games played and is playing without a C or RW, but he’s being called the most overrated player in the league…Nash has similar numbers to Alex Semin except for Nash’s awful +/-, but if Semin had demanded a trade every person posting would be saying what a beotch he is and he’s worthless eurotrash (that’s millbury’s wording, at least).

    Howson should probably be fired, but it’s not because of his treatment of Nash at his press conference….It’s because of awful drafting (even before he started). Top 10 picks of Filatov, Voracek, Brassard, Brule, Picard, Zherdev, Leclaire….just awful. Johansen might be good some day, but 9 goals and 17 points on the season for a 4th overall pick are pretty low numbers. It’s early, but there are lot of players taken after him that although they haven’t cracked the NHL yet look like they have some legit potential. And a lot of them would probably be first liners on the jackets already. Drafting makes or breaks a franchise. CBJ can’t draft. Ergo, they’re broken.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:12 PM

      Howson didn’t have to “lie to the masses,” but he certainly didn’t need to tell the world his team’s captain can’t stand to be on the team for another second. When you approach the GM to ask for a trade I would think you assume you’re doing so in confidence. That information shouldn’t be disclosed until you’re actually traded.

      Also it’s not Nash’s fault he didn’t have chemistry with Carter. That’s something you can’t force.

      • rsl22 - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:18 PM

        I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not persuaded. Nash is a big boy, being paid big dollars. If he demands to be traded to one of five teams, he should also be held accountable for making that demand.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:26 PM

        Why? CBJ gave him a full no-trade clause so asking for a trade to the team’s of his choosing is his right. You can debate whether or not it’s right for the captain to jump ship but in this case I can hardly blame Nash. He’s given some of the best years of his career to CBJ and gotten nothing in return. Time to move on.

    • east96st - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      You know nothing about the Jackets. Carter refused to even answer the phone when the trade went down. He never really “played” for Columbus at all. He showed up because his wallet demanded it, but he didn’t put an ounce of effort into playing the game and/or trying to improve things in Columbus. And, yeah, you DO deny that he asked for a trade. It’s called leverage. You want it when you negotiate. When you announce to the world, and every GM in the NHL, that Rick wants to leave, well, you just weakened your position when the time comes to finally complete a deal. Sure, we all suspected that Rick wanted out. Who could blame him. His entire career he has played for the worse managed, worse drafting team in the NHL. What was the owner’s response to this horrible season? It’s all the fault of the guys on the ice. The guys who drafted them, signed them, traded for them – they’re great! Seriously, that was the email he sent to all the ticket holders. He thinks Howson is a stand-up guy and a great GM. Who wouldn’t want out when the owner is that out of touch with reality? But to use Carter as an example of why Nash’s stats should be better tells me you’ve never even seen a Blue Jackets game. File that one under most ridiculous post of the day.

  15. rsl22 - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Nash being given a no-trade clause is lacking in mutuality (sorry for the legal jargon) if he’s allowed to break his contract when he feels like but Columbus can’t.

    He didn’t have to sign the contract. He did. He wanted the no-trade clause, CBJ gave it to him thinking he would be their cornerstone. Not only did he request to break his contract, he limited CBJ’s ability to do so on their terms. For the no-trade clause to have any effect, it needs to go both ways. One side can’t have a free way out to the disadvantage of the other.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      That’s irrelevant. It’s his right to ask to be traded to the teams of his choosing the team’s right to not trade him as per the contract they both entered in to.

      Nash did nothing disrespectful or underhanded by asking for a trade and Howson didn’t either by not trading him. But what he did after not trading him certainly was disrespectful and makes him look like a complete jerk. Nash deserves better.

    • east96st - Feb 27, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      How, exactly, did he break his contract? Does the contract specify that he never request a trade? Breaking his contract would be refusing to play. He is not. Violating the spirit of the contract would be if he was dogging it on game day. He is not. I’m not a lawyer myself but I am somewhat familiar with contracts. For the contract to be valid BOTH parties had to sign. If Columbus had a problem with the no-trade clause, it behooved them to negotiate a contract that didn’t include such a clause. I’m sure Nash and his agent would have eliminated such a clause for more money. You can’t blame a player for what’s in his contract without blaming the team, as well.

      • rsl22 - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:10 PM

        Well that’s the thing you’re missing…the no-trade clause is supposed to work both ways. A team is supposed to get that warm feeling in knowing they have a player locked-up, just like the player is supposed to get that warm feeling knowing he won’t be sent to Columbus.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:38 PM

        You’re the one that seems to be missing something. They still have Nash locked up. Nash is a consummate professional, even if he was unhappy he would continue to give 110% for his team. But now that Howson has chosen to take the low road there’s no way he can keep Nash.

  16. rsl22 - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Have you read the contract? Does it say that Nash can choose five teams to go to whenever he feels like it? Or did he say he would like to break his contract in which he agreed to stay a CBJ for a long time, and not only is he breaking it, but it has to be broken on his terms…?

    The funny thing about this is that I stated above that Howsen should be fired and isn’t a good GM. CBJ is a mess. Howsen did maybe hurt his bargaining position, but also probably showed Nash that if he wants to move, he’ll have to realize he needs to expand his horizons beyond five teams.

    My only point is that you are all taking a very player-sided stance, despite the fact that the player is the one who was trying to break the contract he agreed to, and not only was he breaking it, but he was dictating how it could be broken. That’s not how contracts are supposed to work.

    • east96st - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      At this point, I have to assume you work for the Jackets front office because your posts are becoming more and more ridiculous. HE IS NOT BREAKING HIS CONTRACT!!!! As long as he plays hockey for Columbus, he is fulfilling the terms of his contract. It’s that simple. Asking to be traded is NOT breaking the contract. It’s asking to be traded. Columbus would be well within it’s legal right to say “No”. Look at the NFL. Osi Umenyiora went on the radio and to the newspapers demanding to be traded from the NY Giants. He – in court documents – accused the Giants GM of being a liar. The Giants gave him a chance to try to work a trade, the offers did not appeal to the Giants, so they said they said “No”. Umenyiora just played in the Super Bowl for the Giants. Nash did NOTHING in public. He requested a trade in PRIVATE. Howson didn’t feel the offers were right, so he didn’t trade Nash. Nash is still playing. But Howson made it all public. For what purpose? How does it help anything? Now, you have a guy who has bent over backwards for the franchise on the ice AND off (I have attended numerous charitable events where Nash was there being nothing but a prefect gentleman to all in attendance) and the GM burned all the bridges between the team and the player. Again, to what purpose? How is taking a “player-sided stance”? I’m taking a common sense stance. What you’re arguing, that he broke his contract, is factually and legally wrong.

    • danphipps01 - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:00 PM

      Well, first off, east96st is bang-on about player conduct. Nash kept it private, kept playing, gave the standard politically correct answers when fielding media questions… he did everything right. Howson decidedly did not. But let’s focus on the contract, since that’s your main point of confusion.

      First: an NTC is meant as a show of support and confidence from the team to the player. Thing is, it doesn’t actually give the GM any advantages. The player is not contractually obligated not to ask for a trade. The no-trade component ONLY applies to the GM and that’s how it’s always worked. Translation: if a GM’s offering a no-trade clause, he is deliberately handcuffing himself to convince the player he’s serious – not the other way around.

      Now, if a GM wants options, he can negotiate a limited trade list – X number of teams, player’s choice, that he’s willing to be dealt to. And this is the next-best thing to an NTC for the player, because he chooses his desired teams in advance and so can plan around a predictable set of possible situations. That’s why Nash’s decision here is completely fair – his contract, by its very nature, clearly gives him absolute control over where he goes. If he wants to stay, they’re contractually obligated to pay him the whole way or buy him out. If he wants to go, it’s his choice where to. If Howson wanted negotiation options, he shouldn’t have given Nash an NTC. The nature of an NTC is that the player is given total control – that’s why GMs only offer them to big-name players.

      Nash isn’t refusing to play. That is not his right. What he’s doing is telling Howson he’s tired of empty promises for “rebuilds” and “competitive teams” and that he wants to leave as soon as Howson can sort out a deal to his liking. He is not obligated to say “Send me to any team you want.” An NTC means you dictate the options your GM has to work with.

  17. habsman - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    Whats the big secret? Whats wrong with telling the fans the truth that Nash wanted out and handcuffed the GM with a five team limit. It is after all Nash who initiated this. I’m not saying Howson is a great GM, he clearly is not. But the Preds aren’t at fault here. And they definitely are not required to protect Nash and his reputation in the comunity when he obviously wants to leave said community.

    • rsl22 - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      Habsman, thank you. That’s basically what I’ve been trying to say, except he doesn’t play for the Preds…

      • habsman - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:23 PM

        Sorry, meant Jackets.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:34 PM

        Have you guys ever been on a team before? Obviously not any competitive one, because knowing your leader and best player doesn’t want to be around is not good for the team dynamic in the dressing room.

        Regardless of whether or not this is a lost season your GM should not be doing something to divide the room or turn it against someone. It’s just classless and unprofessional.

      • habsman - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:42 PM

        Are you suggesting Nash was asking for a trade behind his teamates back? And you consider this leadership? Good for the “team dynamic? So, tell us how many teams you’ve been on.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:25 AM

        I highly doubt he would’ve announced he wanted out to all his teammates. Call that asking for a trade behind their backs if that somehow makes sense to you. Privately asking for a trade while not letting it affect who you are in the room or on the ice is absolutely a good thing for the team dynamic and is how a good leader would handle this. I have no idea what point you’re trying to make with that last comment.

      • habsman - Feb 28, 2012 at 7:08 AM

        The point I’m trying to make is that Howson and the Jackets appear to be taking all the heat for this when Nash is partly responsible for the mess. He did after all request the trade ( and limited the options to five teams).

        And as the team captain, leader, and face of the franchise, he should have stood before the fans and his teamates and told them he had requested a trade and explain the reasons why. That’s what a true leader would do. Instead, in the interest of his image, he left it appear that the Jackets had decided to trade him. It was deceptive and thats not the kind of captain or leader I would want on my team.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM

        Everyone could tell Nash wanted out, why is he obligated to announce it to the world? You make absolutely no sense. I’m glad you don’t want Nash on your team because I’m sure he wants to stay as far away as possible from that Francophone trainwreck.

  18. dutchman1350 - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Nash has been a greater part of the futility than Howson. Nash quit on Hitch, Arniel, and glided around,the past few years. Nash never demanded more of himself, or his teammates on the ice.

    Nash, look in the mirror before you blame management. I think there is a nice one at your bank when you deposit your $7M.

    • east96st - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      This post is so filled with nonsense, I’m not sure where to begin. If Nash “quit” on Hitch – which is so asinine, I’m almost speechless – then please explain why Nashville was in the mix to trade for Nash? Hitch wants a player that quit on him? So, is Hitch an absolute idiot to want to trade for a guy who quit on him or are you talking out your a**?

      • rsl22 - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:51 PM

        Well, for starters, Hitchcock is coaching St. Louis. He is not the GM nor is he the coach in Nashville.

        Second, Hitch appears to be doing pretty damn well in St. Louis, so if a coach as talented as he seems to be couldn’t get Nash going, then who can?

        Third, to the suggestion that I never played on a team…I played through college, and am well aware of the dynamics of a team. Any team would absolutely know when their captain has requested to be traded. To think they managed to not realize he was unhappy and didn’t request the trade would be completely ridiculous.

      • east96st - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:06 PM

        rsl22 – You’re right. I completely screwed that up. As a Jackets season ticket holder, I’ll admit my emotions are getting the better of me tonight. Completely sloppy on my part to vent and not proof read. But, if you go back to when Hitch was with the Jackets, you will see that he and Nash got along well. The problem when Hitch was there was Hitch wanted to play grind it out hockey – he knew the Jackets weaknesses – and Howson kept drafting light weight, speed guys. You don’t draft Filatov (well, you don’t draft Filatov, period!) for a grinding style of hockey. As for your comment about me suggesting you never played on a team, that wasn’t me. I never posted anything about you playing or not playing on a team. Honestly, I can’t imagine there’s one guy left in the locker room that wants to play for Columbus anymore. Worse team in the NHL and the owner puts 100% of the blame on the players and says management is doing a bang up job. I would imagine most guys on the team are telling Rick they’re sorry he didn’t make it out.

      • rsl22 - Feb 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM

        I didn’t mean to suggest it was you that said I didn’t play, I just wrote that to condense my number of posts.

        My point is that Nash asked to be traded, his agent was heavily pushing for a trade in the public, and also made it public that he would only accept a trade to one of the top five teams in the league. Nash may be a great guy, whatever, but he made his commitment to the team and the city, and now he regrets it, and is trying to hold the team hostage without getting any of the negative feedback that he deserves.

        To whoever posted I must work for the Jackets, I wrote this before:

        Howson should probably be fired, but it’s not because of his treatment of Nash at his press conference….It’s because of awful drafting (even before he started). Top 10 picks of Filatov, Voracek, Brassard, Brule, Picard, Zherdev, Leclaire….just awful. Johansen might be good some day, but 9 goals and 17 points on the season for a 4th overall pick are pretty low numbers. It’s early, but there are lot of players taken after him that although they haven’t cracked the NHL yet look like they have some legit potential. And a lot of them would probably be first liners on the jackets already. Drafting makes or breaks a franchise. CBJ can’t draft. Ergo, they’re broken.

  19. vanchuk - Feb 27, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Hehe, licking axles…good one Mike

  20. babar61 - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    How is this guy an NHL gm? I feel bad for blue jacket fans.

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