When the Boston Bruins decided to let right-winger Nathan Horton play the free-agent market, admittedly, I was a little torn up. Here was a guy to whom I had become emotionally attached. Forever in my mind will be the image of Nathan Horton, after getting blown-the-fuck-up by Aaron Rome in Game three against Vancouver, pouring water from the Garden on the ice at the Rogers Arena. Horton had three game winning goals in each off the Stanley Cup runs. Guy could also rock a nasty devil beard during the playoffs. How could the Boston Bruins front office let this guy get away?
After crying into my cereal for a couple days I got to thinking about a former girlfriend. When I reminisce about that relationship, the first thing that comes to mind is the blurry, drunken, fun, year of my 21st birthday; memories of summer days camping and stumbling around music festivals and house parties. I will watch more and more of those moments whiz through my mind and always come to the same, very concrete, realization about that relationship: That girl was a fucking douche. It's rare in life you come across a genuine, blue-ribbon-winning, grade-A piece of garbage.
I guess I was one of the lucky ones.
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And that's just it. It's easy to focus on the good times. Nathan Horton was a core member of a Boston Bruins team that hoisted the Stanley Cup whilst Vancouver burned long into the night. Most of the time though, Nathan Horton was a ghost; no where to be found on the ice. During the 2012-2013 season there were times when I would completely forget Nathan Horton was on the Boston Bruins. During the 2010-2011 season, Nathan Horton had a plus-minus of +29 during the regular season. 2011-2012: 0. 2012-2013: +1.
It's obvious the injury had everything to do with Horton's production drop-off. Hell, can you really blame him? I literally thought the guy was dead after he took that head-shot from Rome. Whether lingering issues with the injury or an unwillingness to get physical played into Horton's drop-off in production and eventual departure is something Boston Bruins fans will never really know.
Yet, neither of those issues can explain Horton's phantom-like presence during the regular season. Horton scored 7 times, had 17 helpers, and was a plus-20 during the cup run last year. Those aren't numbers a guy with an injury or an unwillingness to get dirty puts up.
Cam Neely and Peter Chiarelli were obviously done with the guy after that lockout shortened season last year. In a recent piece on Boston.com by Fluto Shinzawa, Horton spoke about what made him go out and test the free-agent market:
All year, nothing happened,” Horton said of his final season in Boston. “I waited for a long time."
Well, Horty, when you don't show up during the regular season two years in a row, what did you expect was going to happen? Did you really think Chiarelli was going to be banging on your door, 37-million-dollar contract and pen in hand? Come on, guy.
Horton goes on to say:
It just came down to, at the end, for my family, I wanted a place where my kids could be outside. That’s kind of what it came down to. I heard a little bit about Columbus. It’s not the Columbus that everyone knows. Columbus is up-and-coming. They’ve got a great team and great people in charge. It’s kind of what I was looking for.”
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Yeah, because Massachusetts has no scenic outdoor areas. I forgot New England has become a sprawling, dystopian, city-scape lousy with feral dogs, fields of used hypodermic needles, and cyborg police officers with zero regard for human life. In what alternate universe is Horton living where it is acceptable thought to believe Ohio is a decent place to bring up children? No, Nathan, the Blue Jackets offered a metric shit-ton of money and Columbus is a place where you can underwhelm in the regular season and if the Blue Jackets miraculously make it into the playoffs, you will decide to start playing and they'll erect a goddamn statue of you in front of Nationwide arena.
Maybe I'm misdirecting some anger onto Nathan Horton but it's statements like, "well, they didn't make me an offer so I had to move on" that make me think of my terrible ex-girlfriend. No, Horton, maybe I wasn't going to make you an offer and maybe this relationship wasn't going anywhere but that doesn't mean you have to have sex with some greasy dirtball from Ohio in a porta-potty at Ozzfest while I'm at work! Whore! I hope your fucking shoulder gets better real soon.