© St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
October 10, 2003
He hasn't even played a regular-season game here yet, but already the winger that made being a pest popular is already a favorite of the media, a darling of the fans and about to be a regular on morning radio.
Just the usual for Tyson Nash.
Plus, he has an old nickname back: PBG. Pretty Boy Goon.
Nash, traded to Phoenix in June for a conditional draft pick as part of the Blues' cost-cutting moves, makes his Coyotes debut tonight at home against his former team. He was a fan fave, a media darling, a popular pest and a pretty boy goon in St. Louis for four seasons.
"It's already happening here," said Phoenix captain Shane Doan, who dusted off the PBG nickname from his and Nash's days of junior hockey in Kamloops. "We don't have a lot of talent. We have talent, just not a lot, and that means we have to play with energy. He has the ability with his energy to pick up our entire team. We need him."
That wasn't always the case with the Blues the last couple seasons. Coming off injuries, Nash was slowed in 2001-02. His recent play peaked in last spring's postseason, but his role was diminished. He was surprised and devastated when the Blues traded him, but because of his $1 million-plus contract and the way he'd been used, "the writing was on the wall," he said. "I see that now."
After the first shift tonight, Nash said, he'll "remember what side I'm on" and the nerves will fade. The Blues expect him to needle them with his best.
"Are you kidding me?" said Doug Weight, Nash's former roommate. "I wouldn't expect anything different from him. ... He's going to try to make an impact, especially against our team. I expect him to be nothing but an absolute pain in the (neck)."
As a Blue, he made agitating an art. And, in some ways, changed the league.
"That position is more prevalent in the league than before," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. "The way he came in and played, that might have carved out the niche. ... There seems to be more of them out there."
If Nash didn't popularize the pest position, he became its rock star. By being charismatic, speedy, fearless and lovable for the cameras, Nash made being an agitator attractive. He certainly helped agitators raise their salaries. So much so that the Blues were able to find younger and cheaper alternatives.
"I miss the guys," Nash said. "It's nice here. There aren't many superstars here. Everyone's blue collar, and that definitely fits me. ... Just a fresh, fresh start. I just didn't have a good year last year. I know I'm going to have a good year this year. I'm as nervous as ever."