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Monday, April 25, 2011
Gaborik vows to bring it next season

By Matt Ehalt

While his numbers slipped this season, Marian Gaborik’s confidence hasn’t taken a hit.

“Over the summer I’m going to address things and train harder and come back in great shape and bring it to another level, that’s for sure,” Gaborik said.

Coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, the Rangers sniper heads into the offseason vowing that he will “bring it” next year for the Rangers after a disappointing second year on Broadway.

Gaborik tallied just 22 goals and 26 assists, 38 points below his standout 2009-10 season, which he’s planning to use as motivation.

“Just put your head into it and obviously your body into it and regroup. It’s not like the season was like worst in my career or anything, disappointing, but not a tragedy,” Gaborik said. “Disappointing in terms of individually and of course you get an early exit in the playoffs.”

Two seasons ago, in the first year of a five-year deal with the Rangers, Gaborik exploded for 42 goals and 44 assists for a career-high 86 points in 76 games. This season, he totaled his fewest points since the 2003-04 year.

Gaborik said he did not have a reason for his struggles and didn’t use injuries as an excuse. Gaborik missed games with a separated shoulder, the flu, a groin strain and concussion-like symptoms.

He did admit that the team played a different system this year and he believes he bought into that, which included more battles and more grinding. Gaborik, who will play in the World Championships with Slovakia, seemed open to adding top-line talent and would like to see more stability on his line next year.

“The lines always have changed. It will definitely be great to have someone to click with. We’ll see what’s going to happen," Gaborik said. "There’s a few free agents out there that are top guys. They always try everything to get guys and I’m sure (Rangers GM) Glen (Sather) will definitely try to do something. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Rangers coach John Tortorella said that Gaborik cares about returning to the same form he displayed in his first year with the Rangers.

“This wasn’t him this year, for whatever reason, and we can beat it up all we want, but I saw a different player a year before, he knows that, which is the most important thing,” Tortorella said. “We had a very good meeting today and he wants to get himself in a situation where he can really help the club, especially offensively.”