It’s been a long wait for Rick Nash to return to Columbus after being traded to the New York Rangers in July 2012, but he didn’t deny that his first game against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena will be more than a typical game.
Even so, he also admitted to the Columbus Dispatch that the gap in time takes some of zest out of it.
“It’s a different situation,” Nash said. “Most guys get traded, and it seems like they’re right back there playing with their new team in a few weeks. For me it’s been so long (since the trade) that it’s lost some of the feeling for me. What’s it been, a year and six months? A year and eight months? It’ll be fun to be back in Nationwide. It’s been so long since I’ve been there.”
(Strangely enough, Zach Parise is in a somewhat similar situation on Thursday. He faces the Devils in New Jersey for the first time since leaving for Minnesota in free agency because that opportunity didn’t come about last season.)
Despite the lag in time, Nash played in a franchise-record 674 games with the Blue Jackets, so there’s no doubt that it will still be a meaningful evening for the player and his former team. It sounds like he’s looking forward to a possible tribute video, too.
“It’s going to be one of those major moments that I’ll never forget,” Nash said. “If they do something like that, it’ll be fun to reminisce, see how they put all the memories and the years together.”
Nash, 29, isn’t the only familiar face reemerging on Thursday, as Jared Boll has been activated from the injured reserve after missing 45 games with an ankle injury.