Bluelines: The Chase for Nash, NHL in Vegas & Honors for Lou
Saturday, February 25, 2017
By Stan Fischler
• The Rick Nash Derby could very well conclude with the large scorer remaining in Columbus. Furthermore, the Blue Jackets’ captain knows this — he’s been told in no uncertain terms — and will have to adjust, if necessary. Nash understands that his boss, g.m. Scott Howson, must get a big return on his investment. Nash is Columbus’ only asset and the g.m. cannot afford to be wrong. Other potential trade partners are aware that Columbus has to get value or, as one exec says, “the Blue Jackets are doomed!” By limiting the teams to which he’ll agree to be traded, Nash has made Howson’s job even more challenging. So, what kind of exchange will work for Columbus? Definitely not draft choices. Other reports erroneously state that Howson wants only two forwards; fact is, he wants three good ones.
• Why New Jersey g.m. Lou Lamoriello belongs in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame: Under the direction of Lamoriello, the Devils are one of the most successful teams in the NHL, as evidenced by five appearances in the Stanley Cup Final, including titles in 1995, 2000 and 2003. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, the president, general manager and CEO of the Devils has been with the club since 1987 and has served as general manager for a single franchise longer than any other g.m. in the league. The Providence, RI, native has also made his mark on the international stage, serving as general manager of gold-medal winning Team USA at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and for the U.S. entry in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
• Does Las Vegas have a chance at getting into the NHL? The Las Vegas Sun reports a building proposal of a 20,000 seat arena to be home for a new NBA/NHL team. Las Vegas resident and Hollywood filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer has had ownership aspirations and could step up to take charge of a Sin City NHL franchise. The Maven places the odds of a Las Vegas NHL team at 75-25 against.
• The Sabres signed 2012 1st round pick (their second pick in the first round) Zemgus Girgensons to an entry-level contract. Though Girgensons is expected to start the season in the AHL, my man in Buffalo, Dave Ricci, offers this insight. “I wouldn't be completely shocked if he made the [Big Club] out of camp. Zemgus made a very good accounting of himself during development camp last week and had a strong showing during the blue-gold scrimmage game that wrapped up camp. Girgensons definitely has the skill to be a 20-30 goal scorer in the NHL someday. But it’s grit that is his true selling point; Zemgus has an edge to him that will make other players think twice about getting in his face.”
• Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine never stops racking up the kudos. He was recently honored with the Jefferson Award at a ceremony in Washington DC. This award was founded by Jacqueline Kennedy 40 years ago and has been dubbed the "Nobel Prize for Public Service." The other national recipients were General David Petraeus, Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., Buffalo Bills QB Jim Kelly, and Indy race driver Charlie Kimball.
• While some may regard Rangers head coach John Tortorella as intimidating, players appreciate his gung-ho style. And if you don’t believe it, ask the newest Ranger, Jeff Halpern. “I love the style of play as far as being a real aggressive forechecking team," Halpern told The Record’s Andrew Gross. "I enjoyed playing it when I played for Torts in Tampa."
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