Wednesday Morning Skate: Brian Engblom Hates America

Photo by RangerRick and shared under a Creative Commons License

Yesterday Aaron Portzline, intrepid Columbus Blue Jackets Reporter, wrote that Nash doesn't have any NHL teams located in Canada on his "approved" list. (You already know this because you read every links post, but let me go on) In the piece he quotes Brian Engblom:

"It says he wants to get away," said former NHL defenseman Brian Engblom, now an NBC analyst. "Every guy is different. Look at the kid (Justin Schultz) that just signed with Edmonton as a free agent. From what I could tell, he only wanted to play in Canada. I played in Canadian and U.S. markets, and I can tell you, it is different. To each his own. Some guys thrive on being under that microscope, of having that daily pressure of everybody watching you. And some guys really don't like that."

Nash's Approved List, by the way, breaks down to some of the premiere American-based franchises in the NHL: BOS, NYR, PHI, PIT, DET, SJS.

Here's a handy chart of those teams (in blue) and canadian teams (in red). It's sorted by percent of capacity of home and away games combined, but you can see that the US teams do at least as well as Canadian teams in most of these categories, and better in quite a few:

20112012nashattendance_large

So it's not like he'd be playing in front of less people. Well, let's look at his next bit of reasoning:

I played in Canadian and U.S. markets, and I can tell you, it is different.

Well, let's take a look at which Canadian and US markets Engblom is basing this on. Engblom's Canadian-team experience:

  • 3 cups in a row with Montreal to start his career: 77, 78, 79. Played in Montreal for a couple more years in the early 80s. As usual, the Habs are all they've got.
  • Right before the 82-83 season, he got traded with Rod Langway, Doug Jarvis, and Craig Laughlin to the Washington Capitals. The Redskins were and still are king in Washington, especially because they had just won a superbowl 7 months before the trade. They made the superbowl again the following year while the Caps went 39-25-16 for 3rd in their division and then got whomped by the Islanders. I'm sure they loved you, Brian.
  • A couple games into the 83-84 season, Engblom was traded to LA - 5 years before Gretzky got there - in a deal for Larry Murphy.
  • A few years later, he went to Buffalo.
  • Finished his career in late-80s Calgary in the midst of Calgary and Edmonton both competing for and winning cups.

So basically he played for VERY successful teams in Canada and pretty mediocre ones in the USA. I'm sure you've got a good handle on what it's like to play for a bad American team, Brian, but come on.

It's plainly obvious to anyone who looks at that list that Rick Nash wants to go to a good team.

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