Hockey fans are already buzzing about a potenital All Star Weekend reunion between recently traded franchise hero Rick Nash and the host Columbus Blue Jackets. The 2013 NHL Skills Competition (January 26) and All Star Game (January 27) will be held at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Nash has played his entire career with the Blue Jackets until he was traded to the New York Rangers this summer. In return, the Blue Jackets received a nice package of players in Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon along with New York’s first round pick in next year’s NHL Draft. None of these players will ever be mistaken for Rick Nash though and Blue Jackets fans cannot help but feel like they’ve been kicked in the stomach by this team.
Nash has been nothing short of superb in the community and on the ice during his time in Columbus, even passing up a chance a free agency two years ago to sign a long term contract to stay with the Blue Jackets. But when it became apparent they were going to rebuild the team yet again, he requested a trade for two reasons: he’s the biggest asset they had and would bring the most in return, and he is not getting any younger and feels he deserves a chance to play for a winner.
Holding nearly every record in the book for the franchise, Nash leaves Columbus for the bright lights of Broadway and the legitimate shot at not only reaching the playoffs for just the second time in his career but actually having a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. The Rangers have a strong team and the deal for Nash has let everyone know they are “going for it” this season.
Should he be paired with star center Brad Richards, Nash will have the best setup man he’s ever played with. This could lead to some impressive offensive totals for Nash and a likely All Star Game nomination.
To see Nash return to Columbus, as an All Star, in a different uniform would be a major slap in the face of Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson who has taken a boatload of criticism for how the Nash trade was handled but also how he’s performed as GM since coming to Ohio.
Will the fans cheer wildly for Nash or will they boo their departed superstar now that he’s no longer theirs? Either way, should Nash make the NHL All Star Game this is really going to be something to watch.