LaBarbera & Gaborik

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Maybe it’s the team.

How does a Goalie get from earning a shutout in the beginning of the month to being traded for a bag of pucks by month end?

This is the case of Jason LaBarbera, who earned his 4th NHL shutout in a 3-0 win against the Blue Jackets on Dec 6th, but was then traded to Vancouver for a 7th Rounder on Dec 30th. I know, I wrote in my previous post that the Kings might have done a lot better if they had some solid goaltending. It’s a fair comment, if we look at the King’s performance number-wise. That’s also true for LaBarbera’s stats, posting 5-8-4 with 2.83 GA this season.

Well, the numbers may be somewhat misleading, though. If you look at the final four consecutive losses with LaBarbera in net, which seemingly was the cause for his imminent trade, two games were into OT. So, yes, you would want to build your team around a goaltender like him, but at a 0.825M cap-hit and for a mere 7th rounder, I definitely think he is a bargain as a back-up goalie to our back-goalies…

Plus, he’s a BC-boy, and hopefully coming back to play at home will raise his game a little bit? Only time will tell. But in his first start tonight as a Canuck, LaBarbera did an outstanding job stoping 31 out of 32 shots for Canucks’ first win in 2009. In fact, he earned the first star of the game. Good luck Jason, and welcome home! (hm…where have I heard that before??? Oh yeah, Jason Krog!!! Well, looks like more and more BC boys are joining our team.)

Here’s hoping he turns out to be another Wellwood project.

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Oh yeah, a quick-update on Gaborik.

It’s being reported all over the place that Gaborik is looking at a “Season-ending Surgery” on his hip. Just thought that the timing is very interesting, and maybe there’s some truth in my cospiracy theory.

I mean, why now?? The Wild’s Assistant Manager Tom Lynn told the St.Paul Pioneer Press that it’s up to Gaborik to decide whether he will do the surgery to reapir a torn labrum, the same surgery he had in May, but to the other side of his hip. If left uncured, he will feel a “pinching” sensation in his hip. But the question is why didn’t he fix the other side as well during his last surgery?? If a follow-up surgery is needed, why didn’t anyone know about this? Shouldn’t the team at least have some idea to the doctor’s diagnosis?? Why now, one and a half-month before the trading deadline, this sudden decision to do or not do the surgery?? Could this be an ultimatum Gaborik gives the Wild management? “Trade me to my preferred team NOW, or I will walk, this is my last warning!!!”

Lynn didn’t want to confirm that the surgery will be season-ending, just that it will be very close to the end of the season before he can join the club again.

But it’s even more interesting that Lynn said, Gaborik can “…probably play the rest of the season by ‘managing’ the injury”!???

Maybe Lynn is saying this because the injury to Gaborik is not severe at all, or maybe he’s saying this so to not scare away any potential buyers for the team’s most valuable asset. But no matter what, it looks like the Wild is going to lose this one, and the franchise’s first-ever draft pick, and perhaps the most talented one will walk by the end of this season.

The following is a fictional conversation between Gaborik (G) and Risebrough (R):

(G): Hey there Doug, so what do you think about my suggestion for trading me to Vancouver, so I can be re-united with my pal Pavol?

(D): You know what Marian, it’s not gonna happen, I simply cannot trade you to our division rival, the media and the fans will have my head on a platter. You know that!!

(G): But, Doug, you promised that if I started skating again and notched up a few points you will consider the trade.

(D): Yes, I know, and I did, there are some teams out there still very interested, and the deal to send you to Atlanta for Kovalchuk is almost done.

(G): Atlanta?? You fxxking kidding me??? No way I am playing for Atlanta, if the team is not good enough for Kovie, why would it be good enough for me? I wanna play for an up-tempo contending team!!

(D): Marian, calm down, just give me some time, I will figure something out.

(G): Okay, you know what Doug, screw it! I’ve given you enough time already, I’m gonna get my hip “fixed” again, and this time, it’s gonna be season-ending. See ya~

(D): Wait a minuted, Gabby~ Gabby!!!!

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