Blue Notes

Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.

Door still open for Rick Nash in offseason

Given the fact that the Rangers clearly wanted and pursued Rick Nash---and that Nash reportedly wouldn't have vetoed a deal with the Blueshirts if asked to waive his no-trade clause--- it's likely the Rangers brass will re-visit the possibility after the playoffs are over, at the June draft. By that time, the Jackets presumably will have replaced general manager Scott Howson, or that he will be pressured to pull the trigger.

As for Nash, here's the Columbus Dispatch's transcript of his comments after practice this morning, in which he states that he asked to be traded so that assets could be brought in for "a rebuild, a reshape" of the team and that leaving would be best for the management, organization, and his career.

***

Fewer than 24 hours after the trade deadline came and went without a deal, the Jackets’ captain met the media in Nationwide Arena.

Q: Why did you go to Scott Howson in January and ask him to trade you?
 
A: I was informed by management that there was a rebuild, a reshape, of the team, and I personally felt I could be a huge part of that, toward bringing assets in. I think that was in my view that was the best thing for the team, the organization, and personally for my career.
 
Q: Does this say, Rick, that you don’t believe in the direction the club has taken?
 
A: I think I answered that question when I signed my long-term deal. I believe in ownership, I believe in Scott Howson. I love being a Blue Jacket, love the city, love the fans – and that is something that will never change.
 
Q: I don’t get it. What changed?
 
A: I think the biggest thing is when management said they were going to make a rebuild and a reshape, I thought the best thing for the team and for the organization would be to get assets for me, and I thought it would be best for my career.
 
Q: Best for your career, to go somewhere else?
 
A: To be part of the rebuild.
 
Q: What did you tell your teammates today?
 
A: It went over well – as well as it could, I guess. You know, it has been tough for them, especially with me being the leader, the captain. But I was honest with them and told them everything I’m telling you guys, and they all respected that, and supported me and stood behind me.
 
Q: Rick, you’re the captain, but you’ve gone on record saying you want to be traded. Based on yesterday, that could take a while. It may take months. . . . Can you still be captain?
 
A: That’s management’s decision.
 
Q: A lot of people are going to find it hard to believe that you’ve asked to be traded simply because you want out. Is that what you’re saying, pure and simple? You want out because that’s what’s best for the Blue Jackets, not what’s best for you?
 
A: I said I think it’s best for management, team, ownership and for my career.
 
Q: Were you surprised yesterday when management announced that you came to them?
 
A: Me and Scott have had a great relationship and I think that will continue.
 
Q: Rick, how many teams are on your list?
 
A: That’s no comment.
 
Q: Rick, are these differences irreconcilable? Will anything change that will effect the way you feel, or what you think of the team?
 
A: Right now it’s over and done with and I’m going to worry about the next 20 games, and worry about playing those, and giving everything I can to the city, to the fans, No. 1. They’ve stood behind me my whole career and hopefully I’ve offered them a bunch of things to talk about. I think the biggest thing is I’m a Blue Jacket, I’m a captain, and I’m going to be giving 100 percent to this whole city and this organization.
 
A: Can you say how many teams are on your list and whether you’re willing to increase that number come June so it’s easier for Howson to make a deal?
 
Q: Um . . . I’m going to go over that bridge when it comes. I think right now, like I said, I’m focused on the last 20 games. Whatever happened in the past is over and it can’t be changed now.
 
A: How do you think you’ll be received by the fans tonight?
 
Q: You know, I don’t know what to expect. I think I’ve been with these fans my whole 9-year, 10-year career here and I love them no matter what. They’re a great fan base, loyal. They’ve been patient with this organization and this team, and no matter what the reception is I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for our fans.
 
Q: Tell us how you feel about remaining the captain, and keeping the C?
 
A: I would love to keep it. I believe I’m the leader of this group right now, and these guys. I think, no matter what, nothing has changed in my mind. I will still lead by example and go out there and do everything I can to win games for this city and for these fans.
 
Q: What if Howson says we can’t get the assets back, so you’re a Blue Jacket, not just for now but for the foreseeable future. Are you OK with that scenario?
 
A: That’s something we’ll cross when it comes. But as of right now, I’ll wear this jersey with pride like I always have. I think I’ve always played my heart out for Mr. Mac (the late John H. McConnell), and for Mr. McConnell (the current majority owner, John P. McConnell) and I will continue to do that as long as I’m a Blue Jacket. And I’ll play my hardest for the fans, as well.
 
Q: When 3:01 came, was there disappointment on your part when (a trade) didn’t happen? What was your emotion then?
 
A: I understand that Scott has got to make a fair deal, and I want what is best for the team, the organization. I think these fans have been patient. They deserve the best. I think I understand that. . . . Last question.
 
Q: They moved Sammy Paulson yesterday. Last week, Carter and Vermette. Howson said yesterday he thinks if they can fix the goaltending problem and pick up a couple pieces, this can be a competitive team. It does not suggest a rebuild. It doesn’t suggest that they think this is a long-term process to fix this. Does that change for you – that they’re not going to be blowing it up?
 
A: I went off of my conversation with management, and that is what they suggested to me. So that is probably a better question for (Howson).

Tags: rick nash

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