Getting selected for the NHL All-Star Game rarely is the greatest motivator for a player. It's a good goal to have and certainly an accomplishment if achieved, but it's not what drives a player in the offseason, through training camp, or at the start of the season.
New York Rangers forward Rick Nash is usually no different, except 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend has a unique meaning for him, so the idea of getting there was more intriguing than ever before.
"I don't think I was striving for my play to be top-notch so I could go there, that definitely wasn't the issue, but it's nice," Nash said. "If there is one place where it would be fun to go to the All-Star Game it would be in Columbus."
Columbus is a special place to Nash. He was selected first in the 2002 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets and spent the next decade of his life helping build a hockey tradition in the market and a home for himself in the city, a home he still maintains.
Nash earned his spot in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, to be played Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), by playing the brand of hockey that fans in Columbus got used to over the years. He has been a factor for the Rangers all season and has 26 goals and 41 points in 42 games. He's been dominant in all areas, including on the penalty kill.
Nash, who will serve as an alternate captain for Team Toews, talked about going back to Columbus as an all-star, his favorite memory with the Blue Jackets, and his life now as a New Yorker: