Rick Nash reaches milestone fittingly: in a humiliating loss

1 Comment

There’s only so many ways we can skin the “Seriously, when are Scott Howson and Scott Arniel going to get fired?” cat. (Seriously, though, what’s it going to take … a horrifying scandal?)

Thankfully, the Chicago Blackhawks’ 6-3 mashing of the Columbus Blue Jackets provided another story: Rick Nash scored his 500th point when he earned a primary assist on Mark Letestu’s third period goal. If you ask me, this milestone is really a microcosm of Nash’s NHL career: great individual numbers obscured by team failures.

Then again, another stat seems just as fitting: Nash had a -3 rating in tonight’s game. That tough night pushes his 2011-12 total to -9.

I generally dislike plus/minus, but it tells Nash’s story in many ways: the team around him is falling apart, whether he’s scoring near a point-per-game rate or not. Gauging how much of it might be his fault – Nash is the big money captain, after all – is anyone’s guess.

It’s tough to feel bad for a guy scheduled to make $7.8 million per season through 2017-18, but his reaction to what looks like another dispiriting season might be the biggest concern in all of this (especially if the Blue Jackets embrace reality and cut ties with Steve Mason).

Let me paraphrase an old saying: “You can’t fire the team, so you fire the coach/GM.” That is an important thing to remember here; it’s easy and logical to say that Arniel and Howson need to go, but what then? What about Nash and the guys you want to keep around?

At some point, Nash will be able to beam with pride over amassing so many points. My guess is he’s pretty far from that now.