Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recap: Gaborik Stand Up Or Sit Down After Benching? New Lines Again; Weise Likely Gone; Staal All-Star Talk

After avoiding the Marian Gaborik story on Monday I dove into with both feet today looking at many different aspects of the struggles for the New York Rangers’ best offensive player.  The key issue for Gaborik and the Rangers now is how Marian will respond to the benching.  The results can be positive if it motivates him to get going, makes him look at what is different from last year to this in his own play.  If the issue was confidence before the benching and added attention that came with that it could make the hole even deeper to climb out of, as it did for Michael Del Zotto.  With many other articles out focusing on the benching itself instead of the underlying causes I took a more overall look at the situation than just the eventual move Sunday on both Gaborik’s individual and the team basis. 

The entire offense is clearly struggling to put pucks in the net this month, but because of his stature, salary and history of production it is Gaborik who is now getting the attention because the struggles to score finally meant losses for the team.  It is not like Gaborik was lighting it up before this point, but winning is the best deodorant so the stories for the most part remained unwritten.  Now that the team lost two in a row the mass drop of stories on how Gaborik is struggling is somewhat mind-boggling. 

The problem in trying to gauge how Gaborik is going to respond to the benching is that the underlying problems are still there and without a definitive answer as to whether the issue is mental, physical or chemistry related there is no telling of the response.  Check out my thoughts on all the theories that are out there, Gaborik’s words in response to his benching and whether reinforcements for him are really coming or it’s on him to start pulling himself up.  In the end, the harsh reality is though that Gaborik either has to step his game up or sit down because this version is not helping anyone in where the Rangers are trying to go.

Out of Rangers practice today there was yet another new set of lines and more tinkering in terms of the power play.  Maybe it is more the feeling around the fans and in the stories than the team itself, but it feels like each time additional change to try and get Gaborik specifically and the offense as a whole going it has a greater sense of desperation to it.  Who knows how long this set will last, but certainly let me know what you think of the new formations.

Didn’t do a post on it, but might as well talk about the announcement of Eric Staal as one of the captains in the NHL All-Star game and how it created a lot of talk today about when Marc Staal would be picked and what team he would be on.  I joked this morning that Eric was going to collude with Nicklas Lidstrom to ensure Marc was the last pick in the draft to get back at Marc for calling Eric “mouthy.”  According to the rules Marc cannot be the last overall selection as all defenders have to be selected by the end of the 15th round.  Nothing says that Marc still cannot be the last defender taken though.  Either way the Staal brother’s storyline will be there for the draft on January 28th along with hundreds of mentions about the fact they are brothers.

On the Rangers official website Jim Cerny takes a look at some of the quotes that have come from Marc Staal both today and recently on the possibility of playing with his brother in the game and what the whole weekend means to him.

Dave Lozo of looked at Eric’s side of the equation.

So when does Staal get picked?  Will Marc be on Eric’s team?