COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Blue Jackets addressed their need for goal-scoring in a big way with two transactions. One of them – the first of the two – was a blockbuster deal that brought Marian Gaborik to Columbus from the New York Rangers.
Gaborik instantly became the Blue Jackets’ top offensive threat and a player that opposing teams had to be aware of whenever he hopped over the boards. With that trademark stride and lethal wrist shot, Gaborik upgraded the Blue Jackets attack despite not scoring at the pace he’s been accustomed to over the years.
TRAINING CAMP CENTRAL
The 31-year-old Slovak made an impact in his first game less than 24 hours after joining his new teammates in Nashville: he scored the game-winning goal in the third period off a nifty pass from Brandon Dubinsky, propelling the Blue Jackets to a win in a building (Bridgestone Arena) that has been a house of horrors for them over the years.
After the season, Gaborik had a small hurdle to clear: he underwent surgery to repair an abdominal injury that hampered him at times down the stretch, and had to miss the early part of offseason training.
Two days before training camp is set to begin, he said he’s feeling great and has no limitations on the ice.
“It’s been going really well,” Gaborik told BlueJackets.com. “The rehab went well, so I’ve been trying to get ready for the season. I’d say (the injury) was manageable. It was nagging a bit, but manageable. It’s good right now, it feels good, and now it’s about getting ready for camp and the season.”
Gaborik spent the majority of his offseason at home in Trencin, Slovakia, and arrived in Columbus earlier this week. He skated Monday with his teammates in a 32-player scrimmage (four goalies) at Nationwide Arena, and will likely skate once more before camp officially starts on Thursday.
Much like the start of every season, there’s anticipation and excitement but for Gaborik, he’s also eager to start the year with the Blue Jackets and get things going in the right direction from the outset.
“I’m really looking forward to this year,” Gaborik said. “It’s my first time starting here and starting with this group of guys. I’m ready to start training camp get ready to go…I’m excited about this year.
“The start is very important for us. We have to get going and have a good start to the season, and that gets the team’s confidence and everyone’s confidence up. Hopefully we can get a good start and pick up some wins.”