A reflective Rick Nash stood in front of a throng of reporters yesterday morning, ready to share his views on playing his former team for the first time.

The scene was very different from the one that unfolded around Nash the last time the Blue Jackets played at Madison Square Garden, 22 months earlier. “No comment,” the then-Blue Jackets captain said three times that day in response to questions about a potential trade to the Rangers.

Those questions, and the uncomfortable days leading up to his trade to the Rangers in July 2012, were a product of Nash’s request to be dealt a few weeks before the Jackets made that visit to the Garden. It wasn’t a clean break, said Nash, who previously had characterized his trade request as one he made for the sake of the long-struggling franchise for which he played nine seasons. Yesterday, he indicated that his legacy was a factor.

“I think it could have been a bit smoother,” Nash said. “I thought everyone was honest. It ended up getting a little messy. “But at the end of the day, when someone asks to move on for their career, you have to assume it’s going to get a little messy. The only thing that kept me going is that fans stood behind me. They understood my situation.”

At the time, Rangers fans seemed not to care. When Nash scored the tying goal in the final moments of the Blue Jackets’ eventual 3-2 overtime loss on Feb. 19, 2012, they serenaded him with chants of “We don’t want you!”

Are they singing the same tune these days? “I hope not,” Nash said, grinning. “We talked about that a lot when I first got here. I think you have to appreciate that, the passion of Rangers fans. It’s unbelievable. I’m pretty grateful to get to strap on my skates every night and play at Madison Square Garden in front of these fans.”