Rick Nash has already been a first overall pick, a Rocket Richard Trophy winner and MVP of a World Championship tournament for a gold-medal Team Canada.
Now, he’s a cover boy, too.
In the eyes of a hockey-mad youngster, few things could do more to elevate the status of an NHLer than being on the cover of a game kids play while they dream of making the big time. When it came time to pick a face and image to promote its new game, NHL 2K9, video game company 2K Sports went with Nash.
The Columbus Blue Jackets captain was in Toronto this week for the Canadian launch of the Nintendo Wii game. Nash made the rounds at the event, chatting with various media members and facing off against TV personalities to see if his hockey skills transferred over to the video game realm.
He took some time to talk with THN.com about a variety of topics, including how he spent his summer, his connection with an old minor hockey coach and his thoughts on the Blue Jackets’ busy off-season.
THN.com: How has your summer been?
Rick Nash: It’s been good. I’ve been trying to golf a bit. It’s important to see family and friends who you don’t get to see during the season, but it almost seems the off-season is busier than the actual season with training and finding ice at different places to keep in game shape.
THN.com: How’s your golf game?
RN: It hasn’t been too good this summer. I haven’t played as much as I wanted to.
THN.com: You’re here to promote a video game for which you’re the cover boy; do you and your teammates play a lot of video games?
RN: A lot of the younger guys are really into it and I do it a bit in my spare time.
THN.com: A gentleman named Keith Carrigan was a big influence on you as a minor hockey coach and I understand you two have maintained a bond. Do you still see him in the summer?
RN: Yeah, a little bit. He’s obviously busy with business and work and stuff. As much as possible, we try to meet up at least once a summer.
THN.com: What sort of things can you, as an NHLer, learn from somebody who coached you so long ago?
RN: He was always good with the individual skills, protecting the puck, tight turns and those things. Also, he’s coached a lot of good players and any kind of question you have about hockey, he’s always got a good answer. It’s always good to get everyone’s angles and he’s definitely an angle that I respect, so it’s nice to have him.
THN.com: Are you getting itchy to play some real hockey?
RN: It’s been a long summer. Right around now you get sick of working out, sick of going to the gym everyday, the rink and skating; you just want to get into the season, get into the swing of things.
THN.com: It has been a busy off-season for the Jackets, adding players such as Kristian Huselius and R.J. Umberger. What’s your take on your team’s moves this summer?
RN: It’s been good. We added a lot of depth to our team and a lot of strength. It should be good, we got some scoring up front. I guess you’ll never really know until the season starts and you see how guys gel together, but on paper it looks pretty good.
Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesdays and his column, Top Shelf, appears Fridays.
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