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As expected, Gaborik predicts return Thursday or Sunday



                The Rangers' top scorer last season, who has been sidelined since Oct. 15, said last week that he was targeting this four-game homestand for a return, and that appears accurate.

               It depends on his full practice tomorrow.

                “It was shooting and skating as usual,” Gaborik told reporters after today’s optional practice with eight other players and a conditioning workout with assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld,  “I felt it was a pretty good day. Tomorrow is going to be another day and we’ll see how it goes and we’ll go from there. I’m hopefully shooting for Thursday or Sunday.....When I shoot, it feels good."

                Derek Boogaard, still feeling some aftereffects of the flu that kept him out of practice yesterday, was on the ice with Martin Biron, Derek Stepan, Erik Christensen, Mike Sauer, Brandon Prust,  Matt Gilroy and Todd White.


              Speaking of the flu, both Prust (Calgary) and Boogaard (Minnesota) played for Western teams , where the extensive travel made the annual flu season even longer. "Always around this time of year, we got hit," said Prust, who always receives a flu shot. "One year, it really kept going around, two guys, they'd get better, then another two, then more.  Sometimes you can't avoid it, I stick to vitamins and hope."          

              One season, Boogaard said,  the Wild was hit so hard, the team segregated ailing players to avoid speading the flu. "The air in the planes and the flights don't help at all. They left players behind for a day. I got left in Phoenix once," he said. "And some players were wearing (disposable surgical) masks."




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