Monday, January 26, 2015

Why We Boo Rick Nash

An All-Star Arena Saturday Night
I've seen a lot of reaction on the twitterwebs about the booing that Rick Nash received at the All-Star game.  Let me reassure you folks, we boo him because we love him.  Yeah some people are bitter about the way the whole break went down.  They boo him out of an emotion that I don't identify with, but that's okay.  I boo him/cheer him to make some noise, to let him understand that I'm paying attention that he's out there.  He's a Ranger for gosh sake!  I'm supposed to cheer him?  Nah!

I am happy for Nash.  I really am.  He's in a better place for him, and it is really showing this year.  I'd much rather Nash win the Rocket Richard trophy than someone else.  It is not uncommon for a hockey player to have to go somewhere other than where he was drafted to achieve his ultimate potential.  Ilya Kovalchuk couldn't drag the Thrashers to the playoffs on his own.  Nash managed to climb that mountain once, in 2008-09 with the Blue Jackets.  That speaks to his character.  But in the end, there was no sense in him trying to pull along another rebuild.  And the assets from his trade changed the dynamic for the CBJ, which was badly needed at that time.  What we had wasn't going to be able to work.

The reason it is not uncommon for a player to go elsewhere and find his ultimate success level is because of the expectations that come with draft picks, especially for an expansion organization where the dearth of talent is keenly felt.  Derick Brassard and Jake Voracek are a great example of that.  Fan expectations (mine included) were that they would automatically turn in to Toews and Kane, and when they weren't, these unrealistic expectations were not met.  Brass and Jake are not Toews and Kane, and never will be.  They are always going to be Brass and Jake.  Voracek has reached a high level of play this year.  Jackets fans would never have been content to wait this long for Jake to get there.  That is not to suggest that Jake is unduly late in finding success, it is to suggest that the expectations for that timing were unrealistic.  Derick Brassard is starting to round into the center we always thought he would be for the Rangers.  I'm not sure he makes that here.  He is in the right place for his development in New York.

Rick Nash spent his formative years pulling this franchise along.  He lead the team to its first playoff appearance, but the wheels came off after that.  Ken Hitchcock has commented that the 2008-09 Blue Jackets team was one of his favorite teams, because it maxed out.  They gave him every ounce of what they had.  To be successful in the playoffs, you need much more than that, and you can't have left it all laying on the ice just to get there.

Nash's trade gave Columbus the building blocks that they needed to stabilize the center of the ice.  So even in leaving, he did Columbus right.  So we boo him.  To let him know we care.


1 comment:

  1. Other than the fact that I don't boo him, I agree with everything you've said.