By Brian Stensaas
Wild forward Marian Gaborik met with the Twin Cities media (minus the two beat writers, who are somewhere in Canada) late this morning at Xcel Energy Center. Speaking for the first time publicly since undergoing left hip surgery Jan. 5, Gaborik said he feels he is ahead of schedule and hopes to get back into a Wild uniform by the end of the month.
On the issue of the NHL trade deadline Wednesday, Gaborik drew a round of chuckles when he responded: “When is it?”
He then went on to say: “I haven’t really thought of it. I have a contract. I know I am a free agent July 1 and I can’t really control what the team is going to do so now I have to focus on how am I feeling, my rehab and my training and just really focus that I come back strong and healthy as ever. Now I am focused on to get to the point where I can play and contribute and help the team. That is my number one goal so what happens from there we’ll see.”
Though no target date has been set for his return, he was asked if he felt pressure to get back into the lineup quickly given the team’s current state and recent losses. Said Gaborik: “Quite frankly I haven’t really been watching games. I’ve been following the scores but I haven’t been watching games. From my perspective, I just really need to focus on how am I feeling, how everything goes with me and then if everything goes good I’m going to jump into play. Definitely the pressure is on, but first of all I want to feel confident in my body and that’s so far everything going well.”
On the issue of continuing his rehab here, Gaborik said he is currently skating at about 80-85 percent and come Thursday he will begin to skate in full gear. To date, he has just worked out on skates with gloves and a stick.
You had to figure a quote like this was coming, but I will leave you with this nugget: “I’m very happy that I had this procedure done and I think it’s going to bring me to another level to feel better than ever. That’s how I feel. I’m confident. Things are looking good.”