VANCOUVER -- Marian Gaborik
gave it a shot in the warm-up. Then he took his best shots at the Czech net over and over again.
One found twine, but it wasn't enough.
Gaborik, the Slovakian superstar who has 35 goals for the New York Rangers
, had been declared out of Wednesday night's Olympic opener and unlikely for Thursday night's game against Russia by the Slovak team physician on Tuesday. But Gaborik decided to try to play with the deep gash to his right thigh suffered in a practice collision with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
He looked tentative in the warm-up and stayed out of traffic early in the game. But when he found a small opening, took a feed from Marian Hossa
and wired a quick wrist shot under the crossbar to tie the game, 1-1, 47 seconds into the second period, Gaborik was energized.
He spent the rest of the game buzzing around the Czech zone and peppering goaltender Tomas Vokoun
with six shots on goal.
"I mean, it was what it was," Gaborik said of his physical condition. "It got a little better throughout the game. Hopefully, it's going to get better and better every day. I wanted to play and I tried it. It's a tight tournament."
How Gaborik will feel going into the game against Russia is anybody's guess. Disappointment was what he felt following the loss to the Czechs in a game in which Slovakia outshot the Czech Republic, 35-24.
"I think we played pretty good," Gaborik said. "Just those penalties kind of killed us. We outshot them. We had a lot of chances. Too bad we couldn't capitalize."