Marian Gaborik hasn't made it all the way back to Madison Square Garden just yet -- that comes on Dec. 12 -- but he is back in the Eastern Conference after the deadline trade from the Rangers to the Blue Jackets last April that ended his productive but tumultuous four-year run with the Rangers.
"I haven't really had a chance to think about it," Gaborik said of going back to the Garden after Columbus' 3-2 shootout win over the Islanders on Saturday night. "When the time comes, it's going to be a little different, a little special. But I don't really think about it now."
Gaborik and John Tortorella had an interesting relationship during their time with the Rangers. Gaborik scored 114 goals in 255 games, including a pair of 40-plus seasons, but his star status left him open to some of Tortorella's very public criticisms.
Then Gaborik was dealt -- and Tortorella was fired two months later.
"That was their decision to make some changes," Gaborik said. "A lot of teams made changes. I spent four years under him. As a team we had some success, some ups and downs. Everybody moves forward."
Now Gaborik is a star on a much more low-wattage team. Columbus missed the playoffs by a point last season in the Western Conference. Now in the familiar confines of the Eastern Conference -- he has 22 goals in 31 career games against the Islanders and had three solid chances turned aside by Evgeni Nabokov on Saturday night -- Gaborik knows things are very different now than during his time in New York.
"It's a young team, a good learning experience for us last year," he said. "This is a different year. It's going to be a process. We can't look at the big picture. We have to play the way we did last year, game at a time."