Gaborik getting closer to a return

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 1:00 PM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com

The Blue Jackets are being attacked by the injury bug at the moment, but they did get a boost with the return of Marian Gaborik at practice today.

Gaborik and James Wisniewski have taken part in morning skates and joined a couple of practices in-progress, but Wednesday's skate (prior to the team departing for Philadelphia) was their first full-go with the group and a significant step forward in their respective returns.

With respect to Gaborik, who has not played since Nov. 14 in Boston due to a sprained knee, he's hoping to get back in the Blue Jackets' lineup in the near term and help a team besieged by injuries.

That's not likely to happen Thursday though, as Gaborik said post-practice that he's targeting Saturday for a return. If Saturday is the day, it will be his first game following a 17-game absence.

"I feel pretty good," Gaborik said after practice. "There haven't been many practices and this has really been my first practice other than the pre-game skates. I've been skating some with the guys who haven't been playing, and I've worked on battles and stuff with Danny Hinote and couple other guys. (Saturday) should be the date.

"I think I need one more practice to make sure everything's fine and to get the feel for everything again, pucks, one-on-ones, skating full stride and those unexpected moves...just dealing with everything that's thrown at you. One more practice and I should be good."

During his first official practice, Gaborik skated with Artem Anisimov and Boone Jenner in a new-look line that saw Blake Comeau shift to the fourth line in Derek MacKenzie's absence.

Comeau, though, is likely to remain with Anisimov and Jenner at least for Thursday's game with Gaborik still out. Jack Skille will go in the lineup on a line with Mark Letestu and Corey Tropp, while the Blue Jackets' other two lines are expected to stay the same.

With the Jackets' recent consistency at forward in mind, Gaborik said he's not looking to shake things up when he returns; wherever he fits is where he'll play and his goal is to do whatever he can to make his line mates better.

"I think the guys are playing better (lately)," Gaborik said. "Wherever I'm going to be (in the lineup), I'll try to go out there and do my best...work hard and the other things take care of themselves. Have some poise with the puck, shoot the puck when I can and hopefully score some goals.

"One of the main things, is to have confidence in (the knee). If I have confidence that I can go full-out, that's very important. I think this was a good practice and Saturday should be good to go."

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Johnson 1 1 1 0 2
D. MacKenzie 1 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 1 1 0 1 1
B. Dubinsky 1 0 1 1 1
B. Jenner 1 0 1 -1 1
F. Tyutin 1 0 0 -1 0
J. Wisniewski 1 0 0 0 0
B. Comeau 1 0 0 -1 0
N. Nikitin 1 0 0 0 0
J. Skille 1 0 0 -1 0
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 0 1 0 .875 4.07
 
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