Many players eliminated from playoff contention will head to Europe in order to compete in the World Championships, which begin May 3rd. Former Ranger and current Columbus Blue Jackets forward, Marian Gaborik, will not be one of them.
Gaborik did not pass his end-of-the-year medical examination with the Blue Jackets and therefore will not compete for Slovakia, according to Slovakia General Manager Otto Sýkora. Gaborik has a groin issue and he and the Blue Jackets medical staff will decide soon whether he needs surgery or if he can rehabilitate it as is.
This leads to questioning if this is an issue that extends back before his move to Columbus. Gaborik's severe dip in play resulted in speculation that he was not healthy, though most of that rooted from his offseason shouder surgery. Each team does thorough examinations of medical records and players almost always undergo physicals prior to the completion of trades so there is little chance that Columbus made a move for a severely damaged Gaborik. That being said, players have been traded in less than ideal shape before (just look at Derek Dorsett as a more extreme example) and it is very possible that the Blue Jackets knew he was battling something but accepted the risk.
In any case, it is injury to insult for the Blue Jackets. They sacrificed three young players in order to bring in Gaborik and make a run for the playoffs, which they barely missed out on. And now Gaborik will spend the offseason attempting to heal yet another groin injury as he enters the final year of his contract with the Blue Jackets. Gaborik has a reputation for being fragile, but groin problems have plagued him more than anything else; Gaborik has sat out with a groin injury on at least eight different occasions in his career.
One has to wonder if Glen Sather moved Gaborik at the ideal time. For all of his documented injuries, the Rangers had a bit of luck in that Gaborik played over 90 percent of the team's games. It seemed that we milked all we could out of him, and perhaps it's not just about his relationship with Tortorella or the need for a change or anything else. Reoccuring injuries reoccur for a reason. Once one does significant damage to a part of your body it becomes that much easier to aggravate again in the future. And older bodies simply don't have the capability to repair itself the same way as younger bodies do. At 31 years old, Gaborik is not exactly young by hockey standards, and we've seen plenty of players begin to lose gas in their early thirties (Dany Heatley, for instance). The result is that, even if he was healthy with the Rangers, Marian Gaborik's body has been and will continue to be a ticking time bomb. I don't doubt that Gaborik will be a productive NHL player for at least a few more years, but it's fair to question just how productive. Maybe he's only a 25-30 goal scorer now. And there's nothing wrong with that. But if Gaborik's body continues to break down then it very well might be the case that Glen Sather got a significantly better package for Gaborik than he would have next season.
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