I do not envy Scott Howson. Sure, he makes more money than I’ll probably ever see and sure, he’s the general manager of an NHL team, a job that I obviously covet (I know you feel that seat getting hotter, Burke) but Scott Howson’s life is starting to get difficult. To be fair, he’s in a tricky situation. Any time your star player and the face of your franchise wants to be traded away from the team he is the star and face of, you’re probably not going to be loving your job. Regardless of fairness or morality, if a player wants to request a trade like they’re bored playing Madden’s Superstar Mode, it’s entirely within their right to do so.
Obviously, it is then the general manager’s job to go out and get the best return possible for a superstar and not just panic and make whatever trade is available. Like when the Raptors traded Vince Carter for two guys named Williams and Alonzo Mourning’s kidney (I’ll be right back, I have to go jump out a window). However, there’s a balancing act when it comes to trying to find the best move for your team and, while I would like to see Rick Nash traded sooner rather than later, not only because this story has gone on long enough but also so it will put an end to me screaming at my computer, “OH MY GOD, SOMETHING HAPPEN FOR ME TO WRITE ABOUT”.
However, Scott Howson seems to have not been made aware of this balancing act. Or, if he has, he’s just completely ignoring it. I say this because it appears that Scott Howson has lost his goddamn mind.
What proof do I have of this? None other than a tweet from hockey’s equivalent of the CNN news ticker, Darren Dreger (cause he’s usually wrong and mostly read by octogenarians, heyo! I kid, I kid).
Carolina Hurricanes are no longer persuing Rick Nash. Cost way too high. CBJ believed to be after Jeff Skinner. Non-starter.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 5, 2012
Now, at first I was hesitant to jump on Howson for asking for Skinner in return (well, no, at first I was too busy laughing to actually have coherent thoughts) but the more I think about it, the more I kind of feel bad for Howson now that the Twitterverse is eviscerating him so. While the idea of the Hurricanes including Skinner in a package for Nash is totally insane and would never happen, you can’t really blame the guy for asking. He’s already screwed up this whole situation so badly and handled Nash so poorly that the only way he can save face would be to pull off a blockbuster trade that would pay immediate dividends for his team.
This is the same reason why Rick Nash (you have no idea how many times I’ve typed “Steve Nash” today accidentally) will never be seen in a San Jose Sharks jersey. The Sharks apparently have a deal on the table for Nash, but they had a deal on the table for Nash at the trade deadline too and Howson demanded Logan Couture be part of the deal. Because the Sharks aren’t run by a team of monkeys (this truly is the blurst of times for the Blue Jackets), they said no. Now, again, one could make the not unreasonable assumption that Howson is overreaching in this trade in demanding the budding star from the Sharks but, again, how can you blame him? How do you sell to your fan base “Ryan Clowe jerseys will be on sale soon!” Nothing against Clowe, but after trading your first and only superstar, it’d be a tough pill to swallow. That being said, I once again completely understand where Howson is coming from and why he is asking for players such as Couture.
Oh. Wait. There’s also the news that Howson asked the Flyers for both Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier in a trade for Nash. This…is insane. This, of course, is also definitely not happening. I’m sorry Scott, I can no longer try to justify and defend you. I’ve tried. But the only conclusion I can come to is that Scott Howson has lost his goddamn mind.
Look, Scott, I get it. You’re already kind of a laughing stock (seriously, do a Twitter search for Scott Howson, there are some gems) and you don’t want to get rid of the best (only?) thing to happen to the Blue Jackets in their short history (remember when Nikolai Zherdev was going to be a thing? Good times). There are all sorts of PR implications here, not the least of which is that Columbus will host the 2013 NHL All-Star Game, presumably with no marketable star nor a marketable team. But there’s not wanting to be fleeced in a deal and then there’s looking logic squarely in the face and telling it to go fuck itself.
The Rick Nash situation escalated from idle speculation to ugliness quite quickly for Howson and it’s a problem that is likely going to get worse before it gets better. I don’t see a deal getting done that truly benefits the Blue Jackets if only because Howson now has absolutely no leverage in a deal. He’s overreaching on his return yet the market has clearly been set as to what he can’t get. Because of the last few months, it has become abundantly clear that Howson can’t go into next season with Nash on his roster and the rest of the NHL knows this as well. A deal just has to get done. Nash is of a certain caliber that basically guarantees that Howson will get some sort of return for him but it won’t be anywhere close what he was hoping.
And all because Scott Howson lost his goddamn mind.