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Rangers didn't see Gaborik deal coming

by Dave Lozo

NEW YORK -- It was just one game, but the New York Rangers started the post-Marian Gaborik era about as well anyone could have hoped.

New acquisitions Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard and John Moore combined for four goals and four assists as the Rangers blew away the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-1 on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The six goals were the most for the Rangers in a game this season, and they came mere hours after Gaborik was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Brassard, Moore, Derek Dorsett, who is out with a broken collarbone, and a sixth-round draft pick.

The deal was first reported at about 2 p.m. ET and wasn't made official until 5:15 p.m. That didn't give the Rangers much of a chance to digest the news before their 7:30 p.m. ET game.

"I didn't see it coming. It happened so late," said center Brad Richards, who was Gaborik's linemate for a good portion of this season. "We were getting ready for a pregame nap. It was unfortunate. He gave a lot to the organization. But I've been part of it, also, so I know how it is. He'll go somewhere where they're excited to have him. We're going to welcome the new guys and we're excited to have them."

Gaborik had a pair of 40-goal seasons during his three-plus seasons with the Rangers, but had nine goals in 35 games this season. Richards has had his share of problems as well this season, but he felt the two were beginning to click in the games leading up to the deal despite the lack of production from Gaborik.

"I think the last two games, we were close," Richards said. "There's been different spurts, but we just couldn't get on the board. We couldn't get some momentum. Unfortunately, it didn't work out."

One player who was rumored to be on the trade block was forward Brian Boyle, who has been a healthy scratch four times this season. It seemed a strong possibility Boyle could be moved after Clowe was acquired in an effort to save money with the Rangers needing to free salary-cap space for next season.

Instead, Boyle survived the day and scored his second goal of the season Wednesday night.

"Thank God I'm still here," Boyle said when asked for his reaction to surviving the deadline. "This is my fourth year here. The stakes are high. There's a lot expected of us. … It's definitely a privilege to be here in New York and play for this team."

While Boyle definitely had his share of criticism, Gaborik had a much stronger microscope on his inability to score. That didn't stop him from lending support to Boyle.

"You feel for Gabby. He's a great friend and a great teammate and a great pro," Boyle said. "Things were going his way this year and times when it wasn't going my way, he was still quick to come over to me and be supportive. So I wish him all the best. I'm pretty sure he's going to take off and bounce back."


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