The amount of hatred throw at Marian Gaborik for the Rangers loss last night, or for any loss in general, is frighteningly disturbing. I understand the need to have a scapegoat for a loss, but picking on someone who had an assist in the game and was nowhere near invisible is just irrational. The guy isn’t Wojtek Wolski. He’s not Erik Christensen. He’s not invisible out there.
Gaborik, in fact, is second on the team in scoring in the playoffs, with five points (1-4-5) in nine games thus far. Only Brad Richards has more points than him. It would be nice if he shot the puck a bit more (just 16 shots on goal so far), but that’s not a measure of how well he’s playing.
Gaborik is in fact creating offensive plays, finding open ice, and giving his teammates opportunities to score. Look at last night’s goal by Richards for an example of what Gaborik is doing to create offense for the team. As Suit pointed out, Gaborik found the open ice after blown coverage and a bad change by Brooks Laich. After getting the puck, he feathered a perfect pass to Richards for a tap-in goal.
Some point to Gaborik’s one goal as a reason why he is a good scapegoat. And yes, his one goal on 16 shots is troubling, especially when he is being paid to put the puck in the net. But he is also being paid to create offense. That is something he has been doing. If you are going to argue that Gaborik isn’t pulling his weight offensively, then you can make the same argument for half the roster.
Singling out Gaborik appears to be just irrational scapegoating after a tough loss where the Rangers had several chances to tie the game. Braden Holtby made a pair of magnificent saves on Chris Kreider. One of those saves directly led to a goal. So is it Kreider’s fault that the Caps capitalized on the counter rush? Do we blame him?
Carl Hagelin has one point while playing with Richards and Gaborik, but he seems to get a pass from everyone. While Hagelin’s puck possession metrics are great, he needs to finish as well. This is a team. Scapegoating one player because of his star status is a bit irrational. They win as a team, they lose as a team.