Rick Nash was the face of the Columbus Blue Jackets for more than a decade and for a long time was the only player casual hockey fans knew much about, unless there's a faction of Espen Knutsen fans we haven't heard about. The former Jackets captain enjoyed several remarkable seasons before asking out of Columbus. Friday night marked the first time Nash played in Nationwide Arena since being shipped to the New York Rangers.
There was the usual pomp and circumstance from the organization when a former favorite son returns. There was the customary tribute video during the first period.
After that, though, things got testy.
Nash charged the net hard and appeared to have scored a goal, but the officials waved it off due to goalie interference on Nash's part. He bowled into Sergei Bobrovsky pretty solidly there, which the goaltender didn't seem terribly happy about. As Nash went to collect his stick, the Blue Jackets goalie flicked it away from his reach. This was displeasing to Nash, who shoved the goaltender, triggering a large scrum at the Columbus net.
The frustration for Nash didn't end there, however. After jostling a bit in open ice with Matt Calvert , the Rangers forward decided he had enough and dropped the gloves.
It was a rather spirited bout, the kind born out of real anger, if you're into that sort of thing.
Calvert had been after Nash for a lot of the game after the shove to Bobrovsky. Afterwards, Calvert told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, “[Nash] had to pay for what he did. It was a gutless move.”
Nash felt Bobrovsky had to “own up” for knocking his stick away as well as what Nash called two whacks earlier in the game. He told reporters Calvert set him off after Calvert cross-checked him two times and expressed he would be “going after” Nash all game. You can see Nash's comments here:
So that was quite the welcome wagon for the former Blue Jackets star.
Nash and the Rangers ended up having the last laugh as they rattled off three third-period goals to down the Blue Jackets in what was a crucial game for both clubs in terms of postseason positioning