For the first time since early April, Marian Gaborik took the ice with his New York Rangers teammates at yesterday's informal pre-camp skate. Last season's leading scorer for New York spoke with Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants following the scrimmages taking place on the rink. Gaborik speaks about getting back to playing hockey and the team itself.....
On the informal skates: "It’s good to be out and doing some drills," said Gaborik. "I don’t know that last year we had that many guys here at this time. It’s good to be able to scrimmage and skate and get ready for a hard camp."
As a fan I always enjoy seeing things like this, for instance, where an entire team (or close to it) gather before training camp to brush up on things in their free time. This is not the case for many teams around the National Hockey League, as most often it is only six to seven players at the training facility working out before the new season gets underway. The Blueshirts here have close to a full squad, including some prospects that will not even make the cut this year.
On last year's Olympic interference:"Last year was a tough year, playing the games to the Olympics but everybody was in the same boat."
Out of anyone on the team, I think Marian Gaborik was the one Ranger that had the most trouble returning to form following the Olympics. His team Slovakia made it into the elimination rounds, where he later was injured but continued to play through it. The Olympic break, I think, was not a great thing for the team, especially for the ones that participated. Thankfully the Olympics will not be a factor this season.
On newly acquired winger Alex Frolov: "I’ve played against him, he’s strong and a great player one-on-one, especially in the corners, he can win the battles," said Gaborik, adding he has yet to talk to Frolov. "I think he’ll bring a lot and hold onto the puck and create room. It’s definitely important to get goals on the board. I believe we’re going to score a lot of goals and with Hank in the net, not allow many goals."
I am sure it was a relief to Marian when he saw that general manager Glen Sather had signed another pure goal scorer in Alex Frolov. Majority of the pressure on offense was put on Gaborik last season, but this year there will be scoring from other sources, who will later be depended on. No one will be putting up numbers like Gaborik, but at the very least he will have some extra support.
As for my expectations from Gaborik in 2010-11, I feel that he will have a similar year points-wise to his first season in New York. There is nothing I really would like to see changed in his offensive game other than his shootout percentage to increase. Where the speedy Slovakian can improve, however, is on the defensive side of the puck. Don't get me wrong, he is reliable on D, but at times I felt he could have put forth a little more effort.