Rick Nash Getty

Columnist: Nash painted as the villain in Columbus


Reactions continue to pour in from yesterday’s press conference in Columbus, when Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson told reporters it was captain Rick Nash that asked for a trade — not the other way around.

The presser has been described by many as the final argument of what will ultimately end in divorce, something expressed by the National Post’s Michael Traikos:

Why would Howson reveal this nugget of information? Why make Nash look bad? Was Howson trying to save face in front of the fans after coming away empty on Monday? Was this a hardball tactic to pressure Nash to increase the number of teams he is willing to be traded to?

This was not doing the “right thing” or being “truthful.” This was mean and hurtful.

The only logical explanation for Howson’s strategy — if you can call it that — is he tried to curry favor in the court of public opinion, which is kind of ridiculous. The best way for Howson to curry favor would be to build a good team, which will be more difficult now that his negotiating power’s weakened. How can Howson deal from a position of strength when it’s clear Nash is calling the shots?

More, from Traikos:

Howson has to make sure he does not let his golden goose walk for nothing. He has the Jackets’ future to think of. He has his own job to think of. But his outing of Nash’s wishes to get out of Columbus rather than stay for another rebuilding process will likely not end well. Those players who are set to become free agents in the summer will remember how Howson handled the situation.

The delicious, delicious irony here is that during yesterday’s presser, Howson talked about the need to “create a winning culture to attract free agents.” And he said this in the middle of a press conference calling out the team captain.

If that doesn’t say “organization I want to be a part of,” I’m not sure what does.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?