As unseemly and thoroughly maddening as the Nash anti-drama has become, we need to collect ourselves. We need resolve. We need focus. We need shrewd calculation and steady nerve. We don't need begging. At least not yet.
I'll admit that when I first heard the Nash to Detroit twitter-twatter it caused me to suffer a moderate case of gastric distress. But not as much as it caused Michael Arace. "The Detroit Red Wings are in the Rick Nash derby," Arace wrote yesterday. "Please, not Detroit. Not there." He used the word "please" three times in the piece and also threw in a "mercy." And it didn't go unnoticed.
Great. Is there a worse visual than downtrodden Blue Jackets fans dragging their knuckles along the basement of the NHL during this prolonged Nash trade saga? How about downtrodden knuckle-dragging Blue Jackets fans (and columnists) donning knee pads and begging Scott Howson for mercy? Yes.
First, grovelling is weak. As a fan I might be beaten down, but I'm not weak. I'm not going to beg. And if I were to beg, I would beg for a $3 reduction in the price of a beer at Nationwide.
Second, and more importantly, Arace has it all wrong.
Carolina is not on the list but is said to be pitching hard anyway. Can you imagine Nash playing with Jordan or Eric Staal, or both? Jackets fans could bear it because the Canes are more likely to provide an acceptable return in trade — and they are in the Eastern Conference, which, barring realignment, takes a lot of the sting out of it.
Barring realignment? What bar is he referring to? The beers must be cheaper there. Realignment is a virtual certainty. And it's a big deal, so let's think big, or at least bigger than Rick Nash. Let's be creative. It's hard to reshape the box from inside. Scott, are you listening?
Take the Red Wings best offer of players/prospects/picks and add a twist. Have the Wings sign off on the Blue Jackets gaining priority over them in any NHL realignment scenario that would result in only one of the two teams being moved to the East. In fact, get it in writing and have the Red Wings assign their rights under the "promise" that Mike Ilitch said Gary Bettman made to the Red Wings to move them to the East. Bold? You bet it is. What's that? Oh. Sorry about that.
I'll tolerate a season filled with six games of Nash in a Red Wings sweater and no, I wouldn't dread those games. In fact, I'd go to all three "homecoming" games (and buy $9 beers) with a smile on my face if I know that the Red Wings have called off the dogs on realignment . . . . assuming I could get a ticket to those games. (That would be less of a certainty than realignment.) If only one team goes to the East in realignment, a very real scenario, we're toast. With the Wings standing behind us in line, we're in. And even if ultimately both Columbus and Detroit get moved eastward, the comfort of knowing Detroit won't throw a pity party and arm-twist their way to the East at our expense would be worth it.
A move to the Eastern Conference would mean far more to the future health of the Blue Jackets than keeping Nash outside of Detroit. In fact, I'd be willing to discount the deal somewhat in terms of players/prospects/picks. Give me two decent players, a prospect and the rights to the "promise" and I'm a camper. (There's no happy in this equation, so that's as good as it's going to get.)
Nash is a lemon. Moving ahead of the Red Wings in the realignment pecking order is lemonade. Who wants some?