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The good and the bad of Marian Gaborik’s injury

June 1, 2012, by

After taking most of the day to digest the bombshell of Marian Gaborik’s torn labrum, I’ve come to the glass half-full conclusion that there’s good and bad to be drawn from the news.

The Good

Timing – Obviously Gaborik was hampered by his injury during the playoffs, but if you’re choosing to look towards the future, it’s a good thing this happened now and not in October.  Gaborik now has four full months to recover before the start of the season and even if he were out for the full six months suggested by doctors, he’d still be able to play a considerable chunk of the season.  Better yet, the extent of the injury was discovered prior to any offseason player movement, giving the front office time to rethink and revise its plan of attack for the summer.  Offense was the team’s primary need before the injury and that hasn’t changed, but at least GM Glen Sather and company know just where they stand.  If this injury happened in training camp, the team would be able to do little in reaction and could be looking at severely weakened chances of winning the Atlantic Division crown.

Potential lockout – Of course none of us want a lockout, but there exists the very real possibility that the 2012-2013 season will be shortened.  If it takes the owners and players a month or two to hash out their differences, Gaborik could actually be ready to go from the outset.  Don’t do anything foolish and start praying for a work stoppage, but if your primary concern is finishing as high as possible in the Eastern Conference again, then having a healthy Gaborik on board for a shortened season may be the best thing to hope for.

Bounce back ability – Gaborik’s list of career injuries is longer than Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” list, but the good news is that the speedy Slovak has shown remarkable ability to produce immediately upon returning to the lineup in the past.  Check out the numbers previously put up by Gabby after returning from lengthy absences:

2006-2007: Out from October 20th to January 6th with a groin injury.  Scored seven goals in his first seven games upon returning to the lineup and picked up 26 total goals in 44 games the rest of the way.

2008-2009: Played in just six games until late March due to a torn labrum of the hip that required surgery. Racked up 10 goals and eight assists in the season’s final 11 games.

So while many athletes might take a long time to return to form after a six-month layoff, Gaborik has a proven track record of picking up right where he left off.


The Bad

What if? – It’s impossible not to imagine what might have been if Gaborik were healthy for the duration of the playoff run.  In the end, the Blueshirts still may have lacked enough offense to win it all this season, but crippling the league’s third-leading scorer didn’t help matters.  A rookie weeks removed from Boston College turned out to be the team’s go-to scoring option during the Eastern Conference Finals, which isn’t a good recipe for success.  An extra goal here and there from Gaborik could have made all the difference.

Desperation – I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Sather, but it might be difficult for even the savviest of general managers to resist panicking in reaction to this news.  Sather was expected to pursue an elite scorer even before Gaborik’s lengthy absence was revealed, but now the pressure has only increased.  Earlier this week Sather may have been focused on attempting to sign Zach Parise and ignoring the trade market where the Blue Jackets or Ducks could demand a hefty return for Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan, respectively, but could Sather be forced to rethink his refusal to part with top prospects in light of today’s news?

Made of glass – This was the concern with signing Gaborik in the first place.  He’s held up fairly well in New York thus far, but the injury prone tag is now firmly affixed to Gaborik’s name once again.  $37.5 million (or $7.5 million of annual cap space) is an awful lot to invest a guy that has a very difficult time staying healthy, no matter how good of a player he is.

More pressure on Chris Kreider – Perhaps the most concerning shockwave from today’s news is that New York’s prized 21-year-old may once again face ridiculously unfair expectations next season.  Of course, many have irrational hopes for the youngster to begin with, but now that Gaborik’s on the shelf Kreider may once again become the team’s most relied upon offensive weapon.  Kreider did nothing to dampen hopes in the playoffs and if anything, he may have raised the bar, but it’s simply unfair and unrealistic to expect a kid a few months out of college to carry the offensive load.  If Sather is unable to land another star, then fans will be counting on Kreider to fill the stat sheet even more, and that’s a lot to ask.


  1. Alex says:

    i was thinking about this before and think it would be a good idea: trade dubinsky, del zotto, erixon and a first to anaheim for Ryan and Schultz’s rights. Ryan would add the offense needed, dubi can easily be replaced, and Schultz could replace MDZ as our go to offensive defensemen. While I would hate to give up Del Zotto, Schultz’s upside is much higher and theyre the same age. lemme know what you guys think

    • Walt says:


      Your throw out names, and expect teams to jump at them in return for quality players. What makes you think that if we don’t want a guy, others will be happy to give you gold in return for tin?

      Sather will make the right moves to improve this team. If it’s free agent, trades, whatever it takes, he will do his best to improve us. I also believe that he has learned a lesson, and won’t be trading away assits for re-treads, or guys that won’t perform for us on the big stage.

      • Scully says:

        Also Alex, I understand your thinking but let’s not hit the panic button just yet. You’ve got to believe that the young guys on the team, especially Del Zotto will continue their maturation process in the league. He took some serious strides forward this year and remember the kid is only turning 22 and is already entering his 4th NHL season. WHen he’s 25 he’ll be a 7 year vet and in his true prime. I don’t want to predict what this kid’s ceiling is just yet we simply don’t know. He could easily hop from 40 – 60 points this year which, in this NHL would make him a top offensive defenseman. The days of the guys like Leetch, Bourque, Coffey putting up 20-25 goals and 70-80 assists are over for the most part.

        • Kevin says:

          Wouldn’t be surprised to hear the Rangers were making offers for a Ryan + Schultz’s rights combo, but I don’t think that package is quite enough.
          Don’t see the rush to move DZ except that it wouldn’t be a Rangers season without a D-man whipping boy.

  2. Dave says:

    I don’t know why I have to keep repeating myself, but why in the world would Anaheim want MDZ? They have Fowler.

  3. JimBob says:

    Gabby is injured…not dead….the team reaction / strategy for off-season should remain constant. Just having Chris K for the entire season and training camp is the reason why Slats will not panic.

    • Kevin says:

      JimBob, was in line with you for the first part, but if you read the post, I argue that it’s a bit unfair and unrealistic to expect Kreider to pick up all that slack.

  4. Mikeyyy says:

    dont we get more cap spacae to play with during FA with Gabby down with an injury that extends into the coming season?

  5. HabsALLday says:

    why wouldnt a team want 2 good defensemen? lol they have fowler… big deal why do the pens have sid and malkin… depth! ur hockey knowledge is pathetic. u r a fairweather rangers fan, typical! the stanley cup finals are going on and its a pretty sick matchup, tons of excitement. 2 of best goalies in the game and ur worried about the rangers offseason already… for ur info i saw gaborik, stall, dubi, and del zotto out on long island at national golf club this week… obviously gaborik wasnt hurt that bad where he was “crippled” in the playoffs! get a grip .. his legs werent there neither was his heart.. and yea krieser needs to pixk up the load when u have richards, cally, hagelin, anisomov, stepan who have all been around now and can produce plenty… u act like krieder is some all star already, he cane in unannounced and nobody covered him well enoough cause he wasnt thought to be a threat. now its known and his scouting report is out teams will up his coverage… why u think stepan got a hat trick his forst game then basically disappered for some time… man r ranger fans really all this clueless ?? u all need to step outside ur team and learn the game some more esp u dave. u r the most arrogant peraon ive ever seen, u act like u know all there is to know and if someone elae has a dif opinion then u.. omg watch out! u have been wrong about so much u look like uve never played a day of hockey in ur life nor any sport for that matter! ur such a turd, grow the f up!also only kids brag about their drinking, we dont need to here about u drinking, its a common thing tons of ppl do, ur not cool cause u can drink liqour … wise up