Sportsnet has been running the HOCKEY CENTRAL Trade Tracker for a few weeks now in anticipation of the Feb. 27 deadline. It comes as no surprise that some of the players discussed will not be moved. And I think we’ve been pretty honest in saying that. But one player who just might be in the mix is Columbus Blue Jackets winger Rick Nash, who continually plays down the fact he will never ask for a trade.
I have received a couple of calls from friends of Nash, who claim that Rick is very unhappy with the way the franchise is going and realizes it will take five more years to rebuild, again. Nash is now telling people close to him that he would entertain being moved, but still will not be the one who asks for a trade.
Always one who didn’t aspire to play in a big market with big pressure, it appears Nash now realizes that he might have to step into the spotlight in order to win. It is a very tough situation for a very classy player.
Monday afternoon, Scott Howson was kind enough to reply to my inquiry with the following: “John, I am not commenting on any rumours between now and deadline.”
First was Saturday night’s awards show. The NHL awards (much maligned at times) are now in their fourth decade of being televised. For the first time ever, the NFL tried it and succeeded to an extent. And yes, they did have a couple of players not show up.
Second was the presentation of the trophy following the Giants’ victory. I have been writing this blog for three years now, and for three years have railed against the NFL for presenting the trophy to the owners, rather than the players.
The NFL isn’t alone in this, though. It is a practice that MLB and NBA does wrong and yes, the NHL does right.
Anyone who criticizes the traditions or old-fashioned code of hockey should take a step back on this one. The trophy should be presented to the gladiators.
That said, I do like a Hall of Famer presenting the trophy. It would remove that opportunity to publicly embarrass commissioner Gary Bettman.
If you take a quick glance at the last three decades in hockey, it is riddled with similar situations. I’m sure it was one of many reasons the league wanted to realign, but I also know it was one way of guaranteeing some regional representation in the first round of the playoffs.
What is even more laughable is that much of the outcry comes from Southern Ontario, where the Maple Leafs have been a big beneficiary of the pathetic regular season performances in bad divisions (Norris/Adams) in years past.
Get over it.
As a parent, some of my fondest memories of the game occurred in community arenas. I have seen Olympic gold given out live four times. I have witnessed the gleam of the Stanley Cup on the ice 30 times. But nothing measures the pride and emotion of seeing your son or daughter score the winning goal, or make the last second save. Hockey is our game, our passion.
Hockey Day in Canada is not just a day for pros. It is a day for all of us to love the game one more time.
His professionalism, on and off the ice, was beyond criticism. His former teammates that I have talked to only gush with words of praise for what he did for the team and his teammates. He deserves the honour Saturday. And he deserves to be mentioned with the great Leaf captains of the past like Red Horner, Ted Kennedy, Dave Keon and George Armstrong.