Though Marian Gaborik is the Minnesota Wild’s all-time franchise leader in goals, plus-minus, power play goals, game-winning goals and shots, and ranks second in points, he enjoyed a stellar three and a half-year campaign with the New York Rangers, with whom he scored 114 goals over 255 games after signing a five-year, 37.5-million dollar contract in the 2009 off-season.
Off the ice, he was fortunate to live in Manhattan, which doesn’t seem like the worst place to spend several years in the National Hockey League.
“I had a great time,” he said. “Living in the city, playing in New York, it was cool, for sure.”
He also provided a great moment in the compelling Rangers-Flyers season on 24/7: The Road to the Winter Classic.
“It was fun. It was good, something different,” he said about having cameras in the locker room for a month during the season. “It’s a long year, and that kind of spiced things up a little bit, so it was kind of cool.”
The Rangers navigated a lengthy run in 2012 and very nearly played the Kings in the Final, but Adam Henrique’s early overtime goal in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final ended a dream New York run and forced a Kings-Devils series. That game capped a modest five-goal, 11-point run over 20 games with the defensively attuned Rangers and was the last playoff game he played before suiting up for Los Angeles in Game 1 at the SAP Center in late April.
He’ll face a collection of friends and former teammates in the quest for his first Stanley Cup.
“I think now, when I think about it, it’s going to be a little weird, you know?” Gaborik said. “But at the same time, when the puck will drop, you don’t think about it. You just play like every other team, and just focus on what you’ve got to.”
Though other players have felt unfamiliar emotions when facing former teammates, Gaborik isn’t exactly overthinking the situation.
“It’s as much as you kind of want it to be, as much as you let yourself think how you want it to be,” he said. “The bottom line, you’ve just got to focus on what you’ve got to do. You can’t let emotions kind of take over in terms of that it’s your former team. So just go out there and play.”