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Ailing Gaborik

Rangers star winger Marian Gaborik revealed to reporters in Trencin, Slovakia, that he has a torn rotator cuff and will need surgery. Via a translated quote: “Last two months I played with [an] injury,” Gaborik said during a press conference in his hometown. “It was not easy. The [medications] and injections reduced the pain, but I did not have the strength that I needed.” The procedure will keep him out 5-6 months and the operation will be performed on Wednesday, June 6th. Gaborik said he suffered the injury around the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs and then aggravated the injury in the 1st round series against Ottawa. This was the first season in Gaborik’s career where he played all 82 regular games (he had an 81 game season in Minnesota in 2002-03) and managed to not have his usual ailments bother him.

Marian Gaborik
(Getty Images)

(*I couldn’t find any sort of clip online, but from my personal recollection of being at the game, I remember Gaborik being taken down on a breakaway – either in the Sunday 4/4 game vs. Boston or in the regular season finale against the Capitals on 4/7, and landing awkwardly on his shoulder. That was probably the impetus for the injury.)

Gaborik got back to his producing ways this past regular season. He scored 41 goals – good enough for 3rd in the league (behind Stamkos and Malkin), and was the lone offensive force on Broadway this season. As great of a regular season he had, his production dipped a bit in the post-season. Now we know why. He only had 1 goal and two assists in the Ottawa series and one goal in the entire series against the Devils. He did have a very good 2nd round series against the Capitals, posting 3 goals and 4 assists (including the Game 3 Triple OT winner).

While this isn’t Gaborik’s fault, this is the problem with only having one true scorer on your roster. If he gets hurt or goes in to a slump, there’s no one else to pick up the load. The Rangers beat the Senators with good defense and goaltending. They beat the Capitals by grinding it out. But when they needed offense in the Conference Finals, it wasn’t there. We saw how much of an effect a hurt Gaborik had on the Rangers in the 2010-11 season (22 goals, 26 assists in 62 games) and they only mustered one win in the 1st round.

The question now is how this affects the Rangers pursuit of Rick Nash. If all goes well with Gaborik’s recovery, he will be back around November and would only miss one month of the season. But a lack of scoring depth was already a glaring issue before the news of the injury. A torn labrum doesn’t affect a hockey player like a pitcher or a quarterback, it does factor in to the shooting process. Gaborik has been fragile in the past and this won’t help the 30 year old. The Rangers need another sniper to lean on to produce, and the need for one just became more drastic.

Adam Bernard
I'm a seasoned veteran in the sports media field and a lifelong Rangers fan (hoping to relive 1994 at some point - I couldn't fully appreciate a championship at 11 years old). Hockey dominates my life for the most part: I also root for the Blackhawks & Kings, I've been lucky enough to split season tickets for the Blueshirts with a good friend since the lockout, and I'm a defenseman on a local roller hockey team. Away from the rink, I enjoy hiking, hard rock music, and spending time with my dog Astro.
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