After a stellar first season with the New York Rangers, it has been a difficult 12 months for Marian Gaborik.
First, the right wing who signed a five-year, $37.5 million free-agent deal with the Blueshirts on July 1, 2009 saw his goal production plummet from 42 to 22 last season as he battled injuries while trying to find a center to work with on a consistent basis. But that disappointment and angst paled in comparison to what transpired in the past four months.
On May 13, Rangers left wing/enforcer and close friend Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment, the victim of an accidental overdose of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone. Boogaard was 28.
On Wednesday, the 29-year-old Gaborik was trying to come to grips with the tragic death of another of his best friends, former NHL standout center Pavol Demitra, one of 43 people killed in the crash of a plane carrying the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia. Demitra was 37.