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Gaborik ready for Columbus, unclear for Horton

Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 6:02 PM

By Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent / Training Camp 2013 blog

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Training Camp 2013 blog
Gaborik ready for Columbus, unclear for Horton

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets who are recovering from surgery are progressing as planned, or even better, but that still means forward Nathan Horton will miss a sizable chunk of the season.

There is better news about Marian Gaborik, who will be ready when training camp opens Thursday. Gaborik, acquired from the New York Rangers on April 4, underwent abdominal surgery in early May.

"Gaborik's going to be healthy to start the training camp," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "He's feeling great. He's excited about the year, the full year, and getting a fresh start."

Horton had shoulder surgery shortly after signing a seven-year, $37.1 million contract with the Blue Jackets on July 5. The team knew about the injury, sustained during the Stanley Cup playoffs while playing for the Boston Bruins, at the time of signing.

Horton said prior to the procedure that the recovery takes four-to-six months, but president of hockey operations John Davidson is not making any predictions.

"With Nathan Horton it's very difficult to pick a date as to when he's going to come back," Davidson said. "We're not going to do that because if he comes back earlier we're all happy. If he comes back later than the date we picked we're not happy."

Coach Todd Richards said that while he is pleased to have Horton with the Blue Jackets, his task is to get the players available to him ready for the season opener on Oct. 4.

"I know he's not going to be there in the beginning," Richards said. "My focus is on getting ready for Game 1 against Calgary, having the best lineup, the best combinations to make us the best team. If Nathan's not in the lineup I can't focus on that right now."

There are other players who underwent surgeries who are expected to be healthy at least by the start of the regular season:

- Defenseman Dalton Prout had surgery on Aug. 15 to repair a torn abdominal muscle. He just started skating this week and hopes to play the final one or two of the eight preseason games.

"The left (abdominal) muscle, where it connects with the pelvis, came off," he said.

He colorfully described how sutures are keeping the muscle in place so that he can return to the ice, "It's like Kevlar. You can hang an elephant from this stuff."

- Rookie defenseman Ryan Murray, the second pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, has been cleared after sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury in late November while playing for his junior team in Everett, Wash., and undergoing surgery six weeks later.

His return to action was last weekend at the Traverse City (Mich.) Prospects Tournament.

"My first game was pretty rusty for me," he said. "I kind of eased into it but after that everything felt fine. It felt good. I got a couple of checks in the boards here and there. It felt solid. There's no problem with it."

- Forward Jared Boll has no medical issues following sports hernia surgery in May.

Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals