When news broke that New York Rangers sniper Marian Gaborik played through most of the season with a torn rotator cuff -- he thinks he was injured in game 3 or 4 of the Ottawa Senators series -- some people were angry. Here's what I have to say to that: You should have nothing but admiration for what Gaborik did this postseason.
No, Gaborik didn't have the same scoring touch he did during the regular season -- Gaborik scored at a 20-goal pace during the postseason -- but that doesn't mean he wasn't effective. In those 20 playoff games, Gaborik scored five goals and added six assists for 11 points.
Don't tell me the Rangers would have been better off without Gaborik on the ice. Who would have replaced him? Who would have been able to accomplish keeping the opposing team's defense occupied (he was shadowed in each of the three series the Rangers played in) giving more space to other players?
Join me after the jump for more.
The reality of the situation is that Gaborik should be commended for playing through the injury. He should be commended for refusing to give up on this team. He should be admired for fighting through the pain. Don't tell me Gaborik didn't want to win. Don't tell me Gaborik wasn't giving it his all.
The way the playoffs ended was frustrating. I don't think anyone will disagree with that. But to singlehandedly blame Gaborik is ridiculous. There was very little secondary scoring anywhere. And while Gaborik was supposed to be a primary source of scoring, injury happen. They just do.
As for the other concerns from some of you (as to why Gaborik was playing injured), he made that decision. He didn't want to pull himself out. He didn't want to let his team down. Here's what he told the media about the injury (curtsy of Andrew Gross):
"It was there," Gaborik said. "I know I could play better. I don't think it affected me that much. It was just weak. During the game, the adrenaline kicks in and everything goes to the side. Shooting, my shot wasn't there, obviously, but I don't want to make excuses. I tried to put it aside and focus on playing. It was not just me, a lot of guys were banged up. You just try not to think about it and go out there and do your best. I didn't think about surgery or that I had to have it until the MRI (on Tuesday)."
The makeup of this team was the ideology that no one quits, and that everyone buys into the system. Some people questioned Gaborik's willingness to buy into the system because his playoff numbers were poor -- which isn't a good reason to come to that conclusion, but people did it anyway. I think this proves that's not the case.
In the end, don't question Gaborik's heart. Don't question his drive. Don't question his want. He wanted it. He wanted it enough to go out and try to take it despite an incredibly painful injury.
That speaks volumes for me.
It should speak volumes to you as well.