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Kings GM: Gaborik is as ‘smart defensively as he is offensively’

Jun 2, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT

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No doubt about it, Marian Gaborik has been a huge addition to the Los Angeles Kings, but most people (understandably) focus on his impressive offensive contributions.

LA Kings Insider goes in-depth with GM Dean Lombardi to look back at the team’s quest to boost its offense (“without selling your soul” by hurting their elite defense) and how seamlessly Gaborik is fitting in.

Lombardi cited Gaborik’s early development with Jacques Lemaire as a member of the Minnesota Wild organization to share a startling observation: the outstanding sniper is excellent defensively, too.

“He’s as smart defensively as he is offensively, and he had been trained that way, and he had also been trained that defense was a priority to the point where maybe there was that criticism out there to turn him loose,” Lombardi said.

“Traditionally, the European player has been a 200-foot player when you look at the Larionovs and the Fedorovs and the Hossas of the world. He had been schooled, and he would fall into that category even before he got to Minnesota.”

It’s not that surprising to note that Gaborik, 32, tops all playoff goal scorers with 12 so far (Jeff Carter and Jonathan Toews are tied for second with nine), although it’s worth noting that the talented winger has been getting some bounces. His 18.5 shooting percentage is considerably higher than his 10.7 percentage from the regular season and 12.9 career mark.

From the sound of things, the Kings would be accept a slower scoring pace from Gaborik if he continues to be responsible in his own zone, too. Even if plenty of people think of him as a one-dimensional player.

  1. rpiotr01 - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Really happy for Gaborik. Enjoyed his time with the Rangers and it was hard to see his game – and the game of many others – deteriorate under Torts. Glad he’s back to skating and scoring again.

    • afce22 - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      Couldn’t agree more. Very happy for the guy after what Tortorella put him through. But I’d like him to take a 7 game sabbatical….bring that shooting percentage back down to 12%

    • stakex - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      As usual the facts go right out the window when talking about Torts.

      Far from seeing his game deteriorate, Gaborik actually had a career year his first season under Torts, and his third season with the Rangers was the third best season of his career. A lot was made of his struggles in the final year, and Torts took a lot of blame, but Gaborik was always a streaky player…. that’s why Minnesota let him walk in the first place. Hell, his regular season numbers this year weren’t spectacular, when he was actually healthy enough to play, scoring just 11 goals in 41 games. I guess that’s Tort’s fault too, right?

      • hrudey - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        He had 16 points in 19 games in the regular season with the Kings. The way the Kings’ offense was in a massive dump going into the Olympics (I want to say they had five or six consecutive games where they didn’t score 2 or more times), that was a significant step up. He’s pretty much the perfect winger for Kopitar, too, who quietly has led the Kings in scoring for seven seasons now, been one of the elite defensive centers in the league for a few years now, and is still only 26.

    • MichS - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      He would have fit in so well with AV’s system, but I’m happy with the players they got for him (Brass, Moore, and Dorsett). Much needed depth lost from the Nash trade…

  2. alicesrightfootesq - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    Hope he stays with LA after this season.

  3. c9castine - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    pretty obvious when he got to LA that hes much better player and can be a more effective scorer when hes in a proper system of playing the whole ice. not even just defense, or offense. but a team that can play the whole 200.

    LA is certainly one of those teams.

    • shaundre93 - Jun 3, 2014 at 7:55 AM

      If for some unknown reason LA doesn’t sign him, I’d love to see the B’s sign him instead of iggy. Similar team styles and Boston DESPERATELY needed that speed/scoring touch this postseason. I don’t think his numbers are that lucky. For the first time in his career he’s on an absolutely stacked, possession driving team where he can just play second fiddle to the big 3 (kop, doughty, quick). The goals he’s getting aren’t lucky. He’s using his speed to get open and is burying the easy chances that Brown and kopitar are creating for him. I could see him still being a 30-40G guy for another 3-4 years if he stays in a situation like this

      • 311sucks - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:17 AM

        the only thing i would be concerned about is injuries. gabby has had a history and iginla was tough as nails last year. i’d love to see gabby but i’m just not so sure about it, yanno?

  4. blomfeld - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    the bottom line …


    courtesy of Blomfeld & Wo Fat Recruitment Systems LLC

  5. papajack1259 - Jun 3, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    Torts style of coaching was demeaning to players, not I stilling confidence but embarrassing them openly In any line of work this is just plain poor managing Gaborik is a piece of a very good team. The Rangers flourishing as they have with the demise of Vancouver under Torts coaching speaks for it self.
    It is hard to give the edge to Hank over Quick seeing how he was chased in the Montreal series even though a Shutout followed. He is 42-44 in the playoffs never got this far, this is his time to shine! The Rangers team Defence was fantastic in that 7th game, they will need a great team effort. I also think the Rangers need to score first they were more confidant playing with the lead against Montreal. Nash is another who needs to. Play big I will be rooting for the Rangers but LA has a lot happening …. So did Vancouver two years ago, Pitsburgh last year and the Bruins this year this will be fun

  6. pjblake2redwings - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    when he was in New York I thought he was going down like Dany Heatley but I’m glad he took off again and is putting the puck in the back of the net. He is only 32 so I hope he continues like this for the next 5 yrs at least!

  7. stepanup - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Also very happy for Gaborik. He got a bad wrap as a Ranger during his last year, people forget how great he was for two of his first three seasons in NY. Suppose it doesn’t hurt that he’s playing with Kopitar and Brown. It really is a perfect line with Gabby’s speed/finishing, Kopitars playmaking and all-around game, and Brown’s physicality on the forecheck. That said, I think McDonagh and Girardi can slow them down.

  8. watchfullhose - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Is there a player left in the playoffs that HASN’T played for the Columbus Blue Jackets? I really want to know.

  9. valoisvipers - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Resign Gabby and resign him quickly, very very quickly.

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