Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Thrashing

These guys were on my mind this past week as I live in the city of Columbus and wait to see what happens with Columbus Blue Jackets star and captain Rick Nash.  The CBJ moved up to draft him #1 overall in the 2002 draft.  He's been a stud for the team ever since.  Unfortunately his greatness hasn't translated to the entire franchise with only 1 playoff appearance and no playoff wins.  Last weekend, the Columbus Dispatch officially reported the CBJ were actually, for the first time, open to hearing offers for Rick.  Here's a guy who signed an 8 year extension in the summer of 2009 (starting in 2010-11) and has fallen in love with the city.  I've read and heard both sides of this story.  Some fans are ready to just start over.  Their comments lie in the idea that Rick, while great, has never led this team to anything.  Then there are the fans who cannot imagine trading the face of a faceless team.  

Rick Nash, dome
Why trade a guy in his prime to start over when it seems like this team has been rebuilding since 2000?  I think the answer is rather simple.  Management went all in this past offseason and spent the most money they ever had and got big time pieces they have never had.  What happened?  Complete and utter failure.  The CBJ now seem to be a lock for the 2012 first overall pick (which they've never had to deal with before).  It what was the most exciting offseason since before the inaugural season, things have gone to s**t.  I certainly hope their General Manager hasn't completely lost his mind because this seems like a trade that would certainly alienate so many ticket holders it is not even funny.  Granted this season hasn't been his greatest, but let's face the facts, what has been great for CBJ this season?  Nothing.  

Obviously Albert Pujols left for Hollywood, Lebron for South Beach, and we wait to see what happens with Peyton (we'll know by March 8th!).  One has to wonder over a course of a year and a half if that's not the biggest names in sports as free agents in our lifetime.  Nash is different since he's under contract and has a no-trade clause.  However, what links all these guys?  Stability.  Pujols played his entire career and won two championships with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Lebron was drafted first overall by his home state and got the Cavs to the NBA Finals.  Peyton Manning is arguably the greatest regular season QB of all time and has a Super Bowl title for kicks all with the Colts.  Can you really imagine #18 in another uniform?  It is like seeing Derek Jeter not in pinstripes #2 or what it was like to see MJ in that awful Wizards jersey.

I mean WTF?!
I don't blame Pujols for leaving.  He accomplished EVERYTHING in his career in St. Louis.  He left on top along with Coach La Russa.  Now that he's older and in the American League, he can probably make the switch to DH in the near future.  And since I'm a National League kinda guy, I'm glad to see him on the West Coast.  Honestly, the idea of Lebron leaving wasn't that hard to stomach.  We all loved him because he was our hometown kid.  Danny Ferry did everything he could think of to try and build a championship team in Cleveland.  Guess what?  It just never worked.  If Lebron would have just told Gilbert and the gang that he wanted a change of scenery, I think it would have been okay.  But what does he do?  He milks it and has "The Decision", the biggest piece of garbage I've ever seen on television.  And now there's Manning.  I love Peyton.  His commercials and his SNL show have just shown how likable this guy really is.  He also plays in a city that's small and appreciates hard work and overall good attitude and character.  Peyton exemplifies that city's and state's persona.  He's won MVPs, a Super Bowl, and had an iron man streak that was super impressive.  I understand Jim Irsay's dilemma because of the 4 neck surgeries and probably the decline of #18's career.  He does not have an easy decision because there is so much money involved.  I want to see Peyton hit the open market.  I think it would be way more fun than when Favre decided to come back a few years ago and my Jets signed him (hopefully that ending would be similar!).  However, Manning literally turned a franchise around that was pathetic and now has a great fan base due to, in my opinion, Peyton and Peyton alone.

This goal is truly "Nashty"!  

Rick Nash is different like I mentioned earlier because he's under contract and would need to be traded.  However, he is different for another reason.  He didn't win.  All those guys above, each an MVP of their league and perennial All-Stars, helped franchises get to the promised land or VERY close.  Rick hasn't even sniffed paradise.  Since the lockout of 2004-05 though, Nash is arguably the best player to even think about moving teams.  That's through free agency or a trade.  Nash, in the NHL and based on his talent and stats, belongs in the same conversation as a Pujols, Manning, or Lebron.  Nash is in the top 10 in goals scored since the lockout, a 5 time All-Star, and a Gold Medal winner for Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics.  In those brief international appearances, teams salivate because they see how good Rick can be when next to other good players.  I sincerely hope the Columbus Blue Jackets keep Rick Nash.  He's been nothing but patient and willing to work hard every day for a franchise that is dismal at best.  I will be happy for Rick if he does get traded because he deserves a better chance (think Kevin Garnett leaving Minny and heading to Boston) to win.  He has been the only face of a team that is better off being forgotten about.  Rick deserves better but the CBJ deserve to keep him.  Don't blow this Mr. Howson.

Also, I'm really good at the NHL series, here's me as Rick Nash in NHL 11, sooooo good.