Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson made a few things clear after the NHL Trade Deadline passed without star Rick Nash being dealt.
First, that it was Nash who asked for the trade, rather than management approaching him. Second, that his asking price for Nash wasn't going to budge even if his captain wanted out.
"The price was high. I don't apologize for that. It had to be high," he said.
"It's high, that's all I'm going to say."
No, seriously, how high? (Incidentally, that's our second favorite Method Man comedy. Right behind "Soul Plane.")
Larry Brooks of the New York Post tells us how high, as New York Rangers GM Glen Sather offered a significant package that didn't come close to this asking price:
He is believed to have offered the Blue Jackets a five-asset package including Brandon Dubinsky, 21-year-old top defense prospect Tim Erixon, highly regarded 2011 first-round draft choice J.T. Miller and 2010 second-round pick Christian Thomas, along with a 2012 first-round selection in order to make it happen as yesterday's 3 p.m. trade deadline approached.
There is a difference though between lusting and sinning, the latter the impulse Sather ultimately resisted by rejecting Howson's laughable demand the package include Dubinsky — plus either Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto — plus either Derek Stepan or Carl Hagelin — plus 2009 first-rounder Chris Kreider, the Boston College winger who conceivably could join the Rangers when his college season ends — plus a 2012 first-round selection.
So the headline would have read: "Rangers trade Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Chris Krieder and a first-round pick for Rick Nash." Wow.
Five assets for one player. Three more and $15 million in cash, and we're in Lindros territory.
Dealing one asset off a first-place team's roster would have been a risk. Dealing three from the 2011-12 Rangers, plus a can't-miss prospect and a first-rounder, is nonsensical. As Sather said, to the record:
"We like our team, we like where we are, we like the youth we have, we've got a program in place and we want to stick with it. You have to be careful in these situations. You can't dismantle the organization," Sather added.
The Rangers may still ante up and meet Howson's asking price; but to do it before seeing if this current collection of Blueshirts can win the franchise's second Stanley Cup since 1940 would be a disservice to their season.