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detroit red wings
columbus blue jackets
rick nash
nhl career
stanley cup
star player
trade deadline
Fire Howson, Occupy Blue Jackets Continues To Gather Steam
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Fire Howson, Occupy Blue Jackets Continues to Gather Steam

With the sixth highest salary in the thirty team league, it would be safe to assume that the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets would be a pretty good team. That assumption is sadly, wrong. In it's brief history, the team has made the playoffs exactly one time, only to be swept by their arch rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. The fans, a dwindling number to be sure, have started calling for General Manager Scott Howson's head, loudly. Occupy Blue Jackets, the organized voice of those fans, has held a small protest in front of Nationwide Arena as well as started a Facebook page to gather support. Whether the demand will ever be met remains to be seen, but what is obvious to anyone with even a casual interest in the game is that something needs to be done with the Blue Jackets and quickly.

Rick Nash, the team's smiling, much adored team captain, has carried the team on his back for many of his seasons there, often notching the only goal in more than a few games. Instead of building an effective, cohesive line around Nash, Howson has made almost incomprehensible trades that leave even the bluest of Blue Jacket fans scratching their heads. Nash has played his entire NHL career on a team that may never get back on track- meanwhile he has gone to the All Star games five different times, won Olympic gold and a number of awards, but the lure of the Stanley Cup is a powerful one.

Nash asked for a trade in early to late January, at least according to Howson. The trade deadline in the NHL always causes major rumors, so Nash kept quiet, not commenting on the sudden speculation that he was available. Just after the deadline passed though, Howson walked up to a podium at a press conference and then did the unthinkable: he sold his own star player out. Howson could have kept silent. He could have said that the conditions were not favorable. Instead, he told the press and the Blue Jacket loyal that Nash wanted to tuck tail and run. But, this is not his worst or most distasteful move.

There were not a lot of people at the Occupy Blue Jacket protest, so it was likely that Howson ignored it. What he might not be able to ignore for much longer is the fact that at the Tuesday evening meeting between the Jackets and the visiting Red Wings, there were more "Wing Nuts" than there were Blue Jacket fans. Chants of "Let's Go Jackets" failed to gather more than two or three small, almost pathetic voices. For the home team, beaten by a team that had lost three of its previous games and had a number of key players out of the lineup was certainly not the highlight of the night. That designation goes to the solo man with the handmade sign chanting "Fire Howson" as he marched the perimeter of Nationwide arena.


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