Posted by: Adventures in Pucking | January 30, 2012

Man of the Day 1/30: Marian Gaborik

Marián Gáborík

Born February 14, 1982 (age 29) in Trenčín, Czechoslovakia

Right winger for the New York Rangers

Meet your All-Star MVP! Like fellow Slovaks Marian Hossa and Zdeno Chara, Gabby got his start with HK Ducla Trenčín on their junior team and even played a game with their senior team – he made a great mark on the night by scoring his first professional goal! After that, he joined the senior team full time in the 1998-99 season, and by the next year he scored 46 points in 50 games. He was drafted third overall in the 2000 draft behind Rick DiPietro and Dany Heatley, being snapped up by the Minnesota Wild.

In his rookie season with the Wild, he racked up 36 points, and the next season he upped the ante with 67 points, including 30 goals. In 2003 he went to his first ASG and won the fastest skater competition in 13.713 seconds (compare that to Carl Hagelin this year, who clocked in at 13.218 seconds). In that season, he helped the Wild to their first playoff run all the way to the Western Conference Finals.

Unfortunately, Gabby had some issues with contract renewal, and he went back to Dukla Trenčín till he signed a three-year extension with the Wild. He played 65 games in the NHL, but the next year he was back in Slovakia and his old team in the Lost Season (he also briefly played with Sweden’s Elitserien). Once the NHL was back online again, he had 66 points in 65 games, this time having missed games because of a groin injury. The same injury kept him out for not quite half of the 2006-07 season, but he still managed 57 points. In his last two years with the Wild, he became their first player to score five goals in a game and was named as their captain, but hip surgery held him to 17 games in the 2008-09 season. When he couldn’t agree to an extension with Minnesota, their last original player left for the New York Rangers.

Gabby and Ryan Callahan are a happy duo.

The Rangers signed Gabby to a five year contract in 2009, and he did well – 86 points and 42 goals – despite both a knee injury and a cut on his right leg that he suffered during a team practice. Last season, a shoulder injury kept him from high scoring, but his 48 goals in 62 games propelled them to the playoffs. This season, he has 25 goals and 14 assists at the halfway point, and in Sunday’s All-Star game, he not only scored on his teammate Henrik Lundqvist, but he got a hat trick in the process! For that, he was named game MVP. Big Z knew what he was doing when he picked Gabby for his team!

Vomit all the Slovakian rainbows.

– Krista


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