The news yesterday was that newly acquired winger Rick Nash will be headed to Switzerland to play with Davos in the Swiss leagues. Nash will re-join Joe Thornton with the club, as they both played there during the 2004-2005 lockout.
Nash is the first –and likely only– Ranger to head oversea, but he is not the first player to announce he is heading to Europe. Several players have already announced their intentions to play in the KHL and Czech league, and now the Swiss leagues are becoming a league of refuge.
There seems to be some sort of outrage over this, which is something that is extremely puzzling. The argument being made is that since the rest of the team is staying here, then Nash should remain with the team to develop chemistry. The chemistry argument is a generally a valid argument, but not in this case. In this case, considering Nash has never played under John Tortorella, staying in hockey shape is more important than running practice drills.
This is not to put shame on those sticking around to rent the training facility ice and practice with teammates, but it’s irresponsible to fault Nash for wanting to stay in game shape and stay sharp on the ice. Chemistry is important, but there’s only so much you can develop while running drills and scrimmaging. True chemistry comes from playing games. Since that opportunity is not being presented to Nash, he chose to stay in game shape. Tough to fault a guy for that.
Plus, if you remember the NFL lockout, many players came back and were rusty. Add this to the plethora of minor strains/pulls that occurred in games, and the need to stay in game shape intensifies.
Nash’s contract with Davos likely has an out-clause when the NHL season gets underway. Instead of finding something to complain about, let’s be happy Nash is staying on the ice.