You think Marian Gaborik is fast? Well, actually you’re right, he is. But you want to know what’s really fast, as in Mach V fast? That would be the amount of time Gaborik had to research his potential new franchise and decide whether or not to waive his no-trade clause. It was like 45 minutes or so, with a guy literally camped outside his door with the official waiver, awaiting his signature. So, much as he has had to do since he broke into the NHL in 2000, Gaborik had to think fast and move fast. After doing the accelerated, NHL trade deadline version of due diligence, he made the decision to accept the trade. And while he’s very happy to be wearing a Blue Jackets sweater, he admits it all happened pretty quickly.
“Yeah, it did,” said the three-time 40-goal scorer. “I did some homework. I talked to Vinny Prospal and J.D. (Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson), and Jarmo (Kekalainen, Blue Jackets GM) and made my decision based on talking to those guys. You know, the team is young and it has some first-round draft picks coming up for next year, so I like where the team is going. I think J.D. did a great job in St. Louis, then he came here and the team is starting to turn around and seems like it has really good potential down the road. That’s why I made the decision I did with my no-trade clause, and I’m looking forward from here.”
After the speedy decision, Gaborik was met by John Davidson and rushed to Nashville via chartered jet to meet up with his new teammates. The winger made a terrific splash in his Blue Jackets debut, scoring a goal and adding an assist in the team’s 3-1 win over the Predators Thursday night. He added an assist the next night in St. Louis in a tough 2-1 loss to the Blues. After being shut out with the rest of the team in the loss at home to Minnesota Sunday, Gaborik rebounded with a goal and an assist in the impressive win over the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena. For the native of Slovakia, that made it two goals and three assists in four games played in three different cities in a span of six days. Can you say whirlwind?
But even with his resume – which includes three All-Star selections and well over 600 points in his NHL career – and his immediate impact on the Blue Jackets, Gaborik says there’s an adjustment period any time a player joins a new team and tries to adapt to new systems.
“Yeah, it takes a little bit of time,” he noted. “Hopefully, I can make the transition as quickly as possible. We have some tough games coming up, and we want to make the best of it. We have to come out and play hard every night and try to make sure we don’t give up much defensively. And we have to get on the scoreboard.”
While he’s still transitioning to his new team and his new surroundings, Gaborik’s comfort level is rising and rising quickly. He calls his teammates a “great group of guys” and says Nationwide Arena is “perfect.” And he’s also been able to walk around and take in some of downtown Columbus.
“I saw a little bit when I went out to dinner the other night,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised with the downtown area and the restaurants. So, it’s been so far, so good.”
You can bet after four games, Marian Gaborik’s coaches and teammates are thinking basically the exact same thing. So far, so good.