Rangers need Marian to be a star again

Larry Brooks

Where’s Gabby?

It’s difficult to know what is more troubling, that Marian Gaborik played poorly enough (again) to merit benching for the final 8:15 of the second period in the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss in Toronto on Saturday night, or that coach John Tortorella believed that benching the team’s lone marquee forward was the only way to jump-start him.

Seriously, with all of the issues the Rangers must surmount over the final seven games that after a season of good health now include knee injuries to top-six forwards Ryan Callahan and Sean Avery, the most perplexing is Gaborik’s recent penchant for disappearing at both ends of the ice for shifts at a time.

It is going to be difficult enough for this talent-thin team to make the playoffs, but it is going to be impossible if Gaborik does not find his game. It is going to be impossible if Gaborik does not score.

Everyone recognizes that Gaborik has done splendid things in his first year on Broadway without the benefit of a legitimate playmaking center. The fact is that No. 10 is fifth in the NHL in goal scoring with 39, trailing just Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos (all with 45 as of yesterday) and Patrick Marleau, with 42.

Everyone can see that the home-run passes that Michael Del Zotto would thread to spring Gaborik are fewer and farther between as the opposition has grown more familiar with the teenager and as checking has become tighter around the league over the final two months of the season.

But it’s also a fact that Gaborik has scored in just two of 11 games since returning from the groin injury he sustained at the Olympics. It’s a fact that the Rangers are 2-6-1 in those nine games in which he did not score.

It’s a fact that Gaborik has scored in just nine of his last 30 games after getting goals in 23 of his first 39. It’s a fact that the Rangers are 19-10-3 on the season when Gaborik scores and 12-20-5 when he is in the lineup, but does not score.

No one expects Gaborik to pull the Rangers into the playoffs by himself. But that doesn’t excuse him from standing still so much of the time. That doesn’t excuse Gaborik for his inadequate play in the defensive zone, not that linemate Brandon Dubinsky has been much better in his own end.


4 Responses to Rangers need Marian to be a star again

  1. cam7777 says:

    I hate Larry Brooks so much.  What a complete douche-bag.  He might be the number one reason for a team not to sign with the NY Rangers.  Seriously, Gaborik is playing hurt, and Dubinsky was one of the best players on the ice in that game on Saturday. 

    If you're looking for answers Larry, look no further than Glen Sather.  You better hope he can pull off another miracle this summer and get rid of two of Drury, Redden and Rozsival.  Maybe Gaborik would have some help if the team could re-invest that 18.5 million dollars of worthlessness.

  2. leafy says:

    It's amazing that Brooks went an entire week without arguing with Tortorella. That's some kind of streak.

  3. nordiques100 says:

    1. Turn the team over to Messier and Graves
    2. Hire Gretzky to coach with Mac T assisting.
    3. get tougher on D
    4. Another big scoring forward needs to be acquired.
    5. Find a true backup goalie

    Lundqvist and Gaborik are good enough to build around. Another good player but like 140 times more productive than Drury and Redden would help.

    Them having 2 of the most overpaid contracts is killing them. Lest we forget Roszival, Rissmiller, Brashear, Kotalik, Higgins as more terrible acquisitions by Slats.

    They have good kids: Dubinsky, Callahan, Gilroy, Staal, Delzotto, Anisimov, Grachev, Girardi, McDonagh, Stepan, Sanguinetti, Kreider. Kudos to Slats for getting them better and younger, but he really screwed up when given the blank cheque.

    the rest of the team can be considered useless. and if they can spin somehow all that bad money into something useful, they may improve.

  4. cam7777 says:

    They should be able to do most of that pretty easily. 

    I think there actually could be a market for Drury.  If Colorado for instance, misses out on adding other big names, they could look to add Drury to the roster for practically nothing.  The risk would be minimal for them, since they have hardly any salary concerns in the next two seasons, at which point, Drury's contract would expire.  If nothing else, you get a leader, and one of the best checking centers in the league.  

    Then, getting rid of Rozsival should be easy enough.  Try and lose him on re-entry waivers, or package him with a pick or prospect for basically nothing in return, or, "loan" him to a European club.  Voros and Brashear can sit in the minors next year. 

    That just leaves Redden as the enormous salary concern.  I think they tough it out with him for one more year, waive him in the 4th year of his contract, and buy him out with two years left on the deal.

    But basically, yea, they have to just turn this team over to their youngsters.  You know they won't do that so long as Sather is in charge though.  He wants to offer Kovalchuk the max contract, and extend Jokinen at 6 million.

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