Marian Gaborik is finally returning to form as the player the New York Rangers signed prior to the 2009-10 NHL season; the right winger’s team-high 34 points include 24 goals, also tops on the Rangers’ squad. Gaborik’s resurgence has propelled the Broadway Blueshirts to a 27-9-4 record, 58 points and a spot atop the NHL Eastern Conference standings.
Not only has his recent stretch of inspired play given the Rangers reason to believe a Stanley Cup title is within reach this year, but it has hockey purists believing that Gaborik is at last realizing his true potential.
There was once speculation that Gaborik wouldn’t live up to the hype upon his arrival in New York City to play for one of the league’s most storied franchises. After an injury-plagued 2008-09 season with the Minnesota Wild—not to mention contentious contract negotiations—Gaborik’s move to the Rangers carried with it massive expectations from both the franchise and its demanding fan base.
Under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, Gaborik’s play was somewhat unfairly scrutinized by the New York media. Injuries during his second season with the Rangers limited his production, but those expectations weren’t diminished.
Gaborik entered this season looking to prove his detractors wrong, and has accomplished that to date. He’s already eclipsed his scoring total from last year and has Rangers fans whispering that 50 goals are within reach for the Slovak winger.
So much for the speculation that Gaborik might not live up to the hype.
It’s possible that Gaborik is simply hitting his stride this season, or maybe he’s in the zone—to which his SportsCenter highlights will attest—but it’s easy to see that he’s playing the game at a level he’s never before achieved during his career.
Here’s why Gaborik’s reemergence as one of the NHL’s elite players is taking place right before our eyes…