Proteau: Rick Nash best served by move out of Columbus
In professional sports parlance, trade requests made by athletes are the equivalent of Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” dismissal of her royal subjects. Pulling the chute usually is seen as the ultimate act of heresy, a selfish personal bailout from a situation bankrupted of positives.
Certainly, we’ve already seen the butt-kicking laid on the character of Coyotes center Kyle Turris this season when he demanded that Phoenix GM Don Maloney deal him to another team. It was richly deserved, given Turris’ modest achievements over the course of his 131 career NHL games.
But sometimes, asking to be moved is the right thing to do, for both the player and his employer. And I think we’ve arrived at that stage when it comes to the increasingly sad story of Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Now, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Nash hasn’t made any noise whatsoever about wanting out of Ohio and the Jackets are far from being mathematically eliminated from the 2012 playoffs – his team isn’t altogether bereft of talent. Indeed, I was one of the few people who thought Columbus could make the playoffs this season.
However, the hockey gods have all but extinguished those post-season dreams. Losing prized free agent signing James Wisniewski to an eight-game suspension at the start of the year was bad enough; losing prized trade acquisition Jeff Carter after five games to a fractured foot was worse; and the consistent struggles of starting goalie Steve Mason (whom as I joked on Twitter was in line to star in the next edition of the Saw horror movie franchise: Saw VIII, Let In VII) looks like the worst development of all.
Forget whether it is simply bad luck or bad design on the part of Columbus GM Scott Howson that got the team where it is today. All that matters is the Jackets are 15th in the Western Conference, 11 points out of a playoff spot and eight points behind the 14th-place Anaheim Ducks. You might be able to pay for a playoff sightseeing tour from that standings vantage point, but you aren’t going to be participating in the post-season.
And that means the 27-year-old Nash, now in his ninth NHL season, almost assuredly will continue to have just four career playoff games on his resume. That’s like banning supermodel Kate Upton from all bikini shoots and demanding she don a paper bag and potato sack and flaunt her fingernails instead.