THE most asked questions regarding the Rangers this past elongated off-season has been: Will Marian Gaborik be ready to play when the season starts?
Last year's NHL All Star Game MVP suffered a major shoulder injury during the playoffs last spring, played through the injury, and then had surgery to repair the damage in July. Had training camp opened in September as planned, Gaborik would not have been able to take part as he continued his shoulder rehab. But the work stoppage may have benefited him more than any other player in the league because it allowed Gaborik the time he needed to fully heal and rehabilitate without the pressure of seeing his teammates play games without him.
Both Gaborik and his coach, John Tortorella, have stated that the star winger, who led the Rangers with 41 goals and 76 points a year ago, is completely healthy and ready to go when camp opens up. And Gaborik has looked perfectly fine skating with his teammates in the week leading up to training camp. But even Gaborik notes that he is anxious to see how his surgically-repaired wing responds to contact drills in camp. While no one really seems concerned about how Gaborik will fare when contact is introduced, until he does come out of it clean, there will still be a question mark about Gaborik's full health.
Needless to say, even with the arrival of Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik is vital to the Rangers success because he is an established offensive force, a potential difference-maker every time he is on the ice. His health will always remain an important factor to the Rangers, and his next true test arrives with the start of training camp.
What kind of season do you expect from Marian Gaborik in 2013? Share your thoughts below.