Being a Leaf tempted Nash

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

OAKVILLE -- Rick Nash didn't need Maple Leafs fans to tell him he would look good in blue and white -- the Brampton native has enough friends and family to remind him regularly.

But the Columbus star admits the allure of playing for his home-town team was a huge consideration prior to re-upping with the Blue Jackets a year before he would have become an unrestricted free agent.

"It was tempting," Nash said yesterday at Glen Abbey Golf Club prior to teeing off in the inaugural Mike Weir Charity Classic. "It's home. And it would be a dream to wear the Maple Leafs uniform.

"But at the end of the day Columbus is where I'm happy and I think we are on the right track."

Nash wouldn't necessarily have even been on the Leafs' radar, but coming off a 40-goal season, the former London Knights star clearly is one of the brightest young talents in the game. And when the Jackets offered a $62-million US deal over eight seasons, Nash couldn't resist.

"We have good goaltending, good young players and it's going to be an appetizing place to come to soon," Nash said. "We are going to be a contender and I want to be part of it."

Nash was one of a handful of NHLers participating in the charity event to kick off Canadian Open week, a group which included potential Olympic teammates Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils and Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks.

Back home in Quebec for the summer, Brodeur doesn't need to be reminded that his Olympic tryout unofficially starts when the NHL season begins in October.

"For me, it was almost as if I took a year off with my injury," Brodeur said of being sidelined for much of the 2008-09 campaign. "I had a lot of fuel left in the tank at the end of the playoffs. I've changed a lot of habits in terms of taking care of myself and getting prepared for the season. Hopefully that will translate to a better start and more wins."

Brodeur hopes to get one more shot at Olympic glory.

"I'm excited for it," Brodeur said. "It's going to be a great opportunity in our country and we're going to have a great team."


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