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Columnist: Rick Nash’s final days in Columbus barely causing a stir

Mar 29, 2012, 12:38 PM EDT

Rick Nash AP

If these are indeed the last games Rick Nash plays in a Blue Jackets jersey — and judging by how acrimonious things got at the NHL trade deadline, it seems likely they are — he’ll probably look back on his final days in Columbus with a lack of fondness.

Why? Because fans are showing an equal lack of fondness, according to Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch.

Nash played in his 669th game and registered his 541st point as a Jacket last night. The team he has represented for all of his nine NHL seasons defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 before a crowd of 12,432 in Nationwide Arena. Half the patrons wore red.

The Jackets have five games remaining in what has been, by most measures, the worst season in their history. They have two more home games, Friday night against Kevin Dineen’s Florida Panthers and on April 7 when the New York Islanders visit for the season finale.

How boldly nondescript: Nash, the face of an anonymous franchise, will be playing his last Jackets game against a faceless opponent.

Nash requested to be moved prior to the trade deadline. Since general manager Scott Howson could not find a proper ransom by Feb. 27, Nash was left to culminate his captaincy with a six-week, lame-duck lap. It is almost over.

To be fair to Nash — who Arace describes as “our city’s best professional athlete” — he’s tried to be exactly that: Professional. He’s said all the right things, maintained his captaincy and continually praised the Columbus fans for supporting him and the team over the last nine years.

“The fans have been great,” Nash told the Dispatch. “It could have gone a much different way, and I realize that. But like I’ve said before, we’ve been through a lot here, me and the fans, and I appreciate their support more than anything.”

The problem now, though, is that the fans are tapped out. This has been arguably the worst year in Blue Jackets history, which is saying something for a franchise that’s lost 40-plus games in six of 11 seasons. Arace notes that people are “scalping glass-level seats for $15″ and, even though Nash has tried to save face, most can’t ignore his transgressions.

He did ask out of town, after all.

So with the Jackets playing out the string in front of a disillusioned fan base, there’s only one question left to ask. Is there any chance Nash could stay in Columbus?

“It’s a great question,” he told Arace. “I can’t answer. I will say that as long as I’m a Blue Jacket, I will give 110 percent for the organization and the fans, and that is the truth.

“I have no idea what will happen. I honestly don’t. My focus is on the 22 guys here and winning as many games as we can for the fans.”

Hey, at least he’s still saying all the right things.

  1. comeonnowguys - Mar 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    “[Columbus'] best professional athlete”

    That’s like calling Nickelback the best band from Hannah, Alberta.

    Thank God I had to Wikipedia that. I would have had to injure myself otherwise.

    • comeonnowguys - Mar 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      Actually, I’m going to have to injure myself for searching for that in the first place.

      • habsman - Mar 29, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        Have at it.

  2. 8man - Mar 29, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Ugh. Terrible situation. But honestly, I think the fans in Columbus could put it behind them if Nash is genuine about staying and the organization can become marginally competitive. They played a great last night against a very good Detroit squad that needed that game.

    • flyersgoalscoredby88 - Mar 29, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      I don’t know that they needed it. They’re playing Nash either way. They’re basically playing for the right to host game 7, assuming it even gets to that point which it likely won’t.

  3. east96st - Mar 29, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I have posted this before, but it needs to be repeated – the Dispatch – the source of this story – is part owner of the Jackets. Therefore, all and any reporting done on the Jackets by the Dispatch is blatantly biased. We are NOT sick of, disillusioned, and/or upset at Rick. We are fed up with the Jackets ownership and the front office! As I explained to my son when I told him I was NOT going to renew our seats, capitalism is easy to understand. If you are going to charge me a premium price for a service or a product, it either has to be good or the customer service needs to be excellent or both. You cannot reasonably expect me to pay top dollar for a product that is continuously bad AND treat me like crap when I pay you. At some point, consumers wise up and take their money elsewhere. Columbus is charging filet migon prices and giving me a cold hamburger on a stale bun. If that wasn’t bad enough, the waiter serves it to me an hour after I ordered it and gets pissed off that I’m not kissing his a**! We’ve had enough. It’s not Rick. We love Rick. He’s put more effort into one game than ownership puts into the entire season. You just can’t keep abusing people and expect them to continue to take it. Even the most devoted fan has a breaking point. And, for the vast majority of Columbus, we have reached that point. I wish Rick all the best! McConnell, the Dispatch, Priest, and Howson can all rot in hell.

    • nobandwagoners - Mar 29, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Lol, awesome.

      Maybe someone will actually listen? I hope for Columbus’ fans’ sake.

    • dhudhwala - Mar 29, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      Solid

    • gmen4trophies - Mar 29, 2012 at 6:25 PM

      I didn’t understand why Howson didn’t take the three or four young players that the Rangers were offering—perhaps not the ones that Howson wanted. But there apparently was no back-up plan, and this comment explains why–not much of a “braintrust” in Columbus.

    • iamanidiotfan - Mar 31, 2012 at 4:43 AM

      That is one of the best posts I’ve seen in any hockey forum. Kudos to you, sir. It’s just too bad your team couldn’t have better management.

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