Monday's Rick Nash trade is a big moment for everyone involved. In one fell swoop, Scott Howson and the Columbus Blue Jackets lost their franchise player while completely revamping their team, Glen Sather and the New York Rangers gained the power winger they've coveted for so long, the universe punished Tim Erixon for refusing to play in Calgary, and Rick Nash began preparing to don a new jersey for the first time in his NHL career.
On that last point: Nash's team change comes after a decade in the NHL. He may have asked for it, but still, that's a pretty huge change, and you have to wonder what it feels like.
According to Nash, it's weird. From Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:
"It's a weird kind of feeling, because all I've ever known is to be a Blue Jacket," Nash told The Dispatch tonight. "I've always said there will be a soft spot in my heart for them, but this is an exciting opportunity as well."
Regarding that soft spot, Columbus, Nash hopes you feel the same way. When a player is traded, especially after he asks to be traded, a little bit of revision tends to occur, and suddenly his accomplishments and abilities are downplayed in his old hometown. The fact that he was never able to give the city a playoff win will make that process easier, as will the months fans have had to ponder his worth while they waited for the trade.
But Nash hopes to be remembered fondly as a hockey player and a person among the Blue Jackets' faithful, despite the unceremonious ending.
"I want to be remembered as a good, honest player, someone who's helped change lives in the community and brought excitement to people's lives. I'd be happy with that, because Columbus definitely became my home these last 10 years."
And Nash is serious on that last point. He may be headed to the Big Apple, but he's not abandoning Ohio entirely. He plans to remain a Columbus resident in the offseason.
This said, even if some part of Nash's heart remains in Columbus, don't think his head is there. He's definitely looking forward to New York. "Last season obviously they were one of the best teams, and I thought it was a great fit for my style to play there," he told Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. And he's already put some thought into the increased pressure to win in the New York market, telling Aaron Portzline that his experiences on the world stage have prepared him for that.
Granted, as much as they're clamoring for a Cup in New York, it remains New York. The Ichiro trade about three hours after Nash effectively relegated any and all hockey discussion, so the pressure might not be as bad as he's expecting.
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