The Columbus Blue Jackets will face the New York Rangers in their home opener this coming year, and many fans think NYR might be the Jackets’ next big rival. One name, though, sticks out on the Rangers roster: Rick Nash.
Upon his return to Nationwide Arena last season, Nash was met with mixed emotions. Some cheers and some boos, but when the Jackets played a nice tribute video honoring his time in Columbus, the arena had mostly warm feelings for him. There were hardly any boos and a lot of respect for what he did here.
It didn’t last long, though. There was some disagreement between Sergei Bobrovsky and Rick Nash, in which Nash claimed Bob hit his stick away, and Nash reacted by punching Bob in the face. It broke out into an all-out fight, and soon had the crowd involved in it all. Just for fun, relive the moment with this video:
After that, Nash got no more cheers. No matter who you are, you don’t punch a goalie. Whether the punch was a valid response or not didn’t really matter, because Columbus loves Bobrovsky. He can do no wrong. I was there, and I was one of the fans who decided Nash was worthy of boos after that play.
Now that we’ve had some time to think about it, though, what reaction does Nash really deserve? In the heat of the moment, it was a lot more fun to boo him. But he was the leader of our franchise for years, and certainly left on better terms than his predecessor. When the Rangers faced the Kings in the Stanley Cup finals, I was certainly rooting for him then. Seeing Nash’s name on Lord Stanley’s Cup would have been great. It would have shown that the Jackets created a player who could be a champion.
Of course, that didn’t happen. Still, now that all the excitement of that game is behind us, I’m not even sure how I’ll react when he comes to town in October. It will be opening night, a game whose energy can only be matched by a few notable games at the end of the season. Will the excitement of the crowd make booing him more fun? Or will we all realize maybe he isn’t so bad? Will we care at all? I’m hoping the game is so good that I don’t really care about Nash, but who knows?
We’ll find out at the beginning of the game, when Nash first steps onto the ice, but until then, let us know what you think. Vote in our poll, leave a comment, or tweet us @UnionandBlue or comment on our Facebook page.