August 18, 2008
Marian Gaborik has played for the Minnesota Wild since 2000. Jacques Lemaire has been the head coach of the Minnesota Wild since 2000.
So how unbelievable, flabbergasting, stunning and/or astonishing is it to hear that Wild General Manager Doug Risebrough and assistant GM Tom Lynn spent part of a four-hour dinner in Trencin, Slovakia attempting convince Gaborik that "he's not being impeded from scoring in Minnesota's defensive-minded system?"
He really can't figure that out for himself? After seven seasons? From Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune:
But at last week's dinner, Risebrough and Lynn showed Gaborik that, since the lockout, he's fourth in the NHL in goals per game (behind Alex Ovechin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley), first in even-strength goals per minute played and tied for second in goals per 60 minutes played (behind Ovechkin).
"He seemed surprised, pleasantly, to learn he is among the top scorers in the league right now and doesn't need to go anywhere else to do that," Lynn said. "So only his groins have kept him from being right there, which would not change with another team."
While the flow charts and pie graphs seemed to have convinced him that his offense isn't being hampered by Jacques Hockey, the dinner failed to produce a new contract for Gaborik, who's entering the final year of his deal. In fact, his agent Ron Salcer told the Pioneer Press that he actually hasn't talked contract with the team yet.
From the Press:
"I can tell you that no decision (about free agency) has been made, and that he's not even thinking about it. He's focused on coming in and having a great season. If you start talking about next year, I think you're getting ahead of yourself. ... We're not going to deny anything the Wild wants to explore. We're certainly willing to listen, but at this point it's a hypothetical because I haven't heard from them."
Because no one in his or her right mind believes Gaborik and the Wild suits didn't talk contract -- not even a quick figure tossed out while waiting for the dessert menu to arrive? -- Wild Puck Banter imagines what the conversation might have sounded like.
Meanwhile, Diablo Hockey takes a humorous read between the lines of Russo's coverage and the Wild management's quotes.
Again: Is Gaborik so daft that he's unable to discern whether his offensive creativity has been stifled during the last seven seasons? Or are the Wild so smart that, with the help of guys like Chris Snow, they've been able to build a case that's brainwashed a sniper with one skate out the door to keep feeling Minnesota ... despite not being able to sell another high-level, goal-scoring free agent on the same theory?
And what happened to the "variety of proposals" the Wild were due to make Gaborik in "early August?"
Will Gabby stay? Will Gabby go? Here's what we do know: He wasn't traded for Justin Williams, Frank Kaberle, Jamie McBain & a 1st round pick. Because that's a little too specific for an August trade rumor, don't you think?