Stubborn Nash

The ongoing saga of Riley Nash and his relationship with the Edmonton Oilers went a little public last night during “The Pipeline Show” with Dean Millard and Guy Flaming.

The interview is here.

Nash said “right now I’m not in a real hurry to sign and go to Springfield. If I was that would already have happened by now. I’m talking with my advisor and I think Edmonton has a lot of things on the go in trying to sort everything out there. It is a long process, I’m in no hurry to sign anything, especially when we have all summer. Just trying to iron out the details and see what happens.”

Millard then asked a very specific question in regard to free agency outside the Oilers.

Millard: “The option of going back for your senior year and then becoming a free agent after that; is that something you’re considering at all?”

Nash: “Well when you’re three years in obviously it crosses your mind. I really like Edmonton and what they’re doing, I think they have a lot of good years ahead of them. At the same time I have to see what is best for me. My main goal is to play in the NHL in the next few years, and that is what it comes down to. I want to help an organization in the NHL and fulfill that dream. I’m not saying that is exactly what I’m going to do, I’ve talked to my advisor and we go around in circles about what is going to happen here. I’m in no hurry to sign anything, but at the same time I’d like to get on with my professional career.”

We’ve discussed the relationship between this player and the organization at great length since summer 2007. I don’t get the same conclusions drawn by Millard and Flaming last night. It sounds to me as though this is a kid who might be feeling the Oilers have lost some faith in him (and comments by Kevin Prendergast over the years likely added to this). Since this young man wants to play in the NHL and the Oilers clearly want him to sign, it would seem to me that reasonable men should he able to come to an agreement.

Nash appears to be a “free thinker” who has a wider view of the world. The NHL doesn’t like this kind of individual, it makes them nervous. A textbook study in this regard is available with a quick review of the career of Ken Dryden, another Cornell hockey player who once sat out an entire season just to win a battle against Sam Pollock.

This is a fan blog. I have no access to Nash, Prendergast or any of the people involved in this story. This guy may well sign as a free agent in 2011 and the Oilers could be left with a lesser pick many years after selecting him. However, I don’t think this story is over and I don’t think this is as one-sided as it may appear.

Guys like Riley Nash try the patience of organizations and their fanbase when they choose to take their time or choose not to follow the rules (as dictated by sport and tradition). I don’t think any of that matters to Riley Nash.

Good for him.

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