For a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets, having one of their players come back from injury is a newsworthy moment. The team’s IR seemed to be increasing in length by the day, so a return from sniper Marian Gaborik was a much-welcomed sight. He’d been out over four weeks with a knee injury, but Columbus was hoping his first game back last night against the Philadelphia Flyers would be a huge boost to a team in need of one.
After just under three minutes on the ice, the Blue Jackets heard a phrase they’ve dealt with a little too often this season; “out indefinitely.” That it was in reference to Gaborik made things that much worse.
Gaborik’s return was quick and painful, as he was slammed in between Zac Rinaldo and Brayden Schenn of the Flyers right before Columbus forward Ryan Johansen put the team up 1-0. While the Jackets celebrated an early lead, their best offensive player was being helped off the ice. Before the game was even finished, the announcement was made, and it wasn’t good at all. Gaborik suffered a broken collarbone, and like many Columbus players, he’ll be out indefinitely.
Never mind the fact that this is a huge blow for a team that needs as many bodies back as possible, its also doing nothing to help Gaborik’s contract situation. The Jackets acquired the forward through a deadline deal last season with the New York Rangers, but he’s in the final year of his contract. Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen had already implied earlier this year that he was looking for more from Gaborik before the team considered resigning him. The fact that he’s likely to spend the majority of this season healing from injuries isn’t helping at all.
If there’s any bright side to this news –and there isn’t a ton– its the fact that Columbus is more than used to dealing with losing players this year due to injury. It doesn’t exactly make the loss of Gaborik better, but by now you’d like to think the team has figured out how to adapt to this type of situation.