Former Ranger Marian Gaborik has moved on, in more ways than one

Marian Gaborik of the Columbus Blue Jackets hits

Marian Gaborik of the Columbus Blue Jackets hits Michael Grabner of the Islanders. (Oct. 5, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

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."

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