In an interview with the Star Tribune's Jim Souhan, Marian Gaborik decided it was finally time to speak directly to the fans, the people who indirectly paid his millions for years. Some of my fellow Wild fans have taken the chance to thank Gaborik for his time here in Minnesota, and used the opportunity to bury the proverbial hatchet.
I, for one, will be holding a grudge.
To preface the article, Gaborik was reported to have sent out a text message to the local news outlets (where's my text Gaby, huh?) wanting to meet to talk at the Saint Paul Hotel. One "reporter" showed up. Souhan. Russo (who without a doubt would have been there) being on vacation, I am certain the Trib wanted someone there, but the Pioneer Press seemes to be uninterested. I am not certain if the local TV stations were invited, but there was no coverage from them.
No one cares, Gaby. Good bye. Pack your bags and go. You had your chance.
At the beginning of the year, you were offered somewhere in the area of $8 million per year on a long term deal. You turned it down. Now we hear this:
"I had no decision to make in order to stay here because I haven't gotten any offers under the new era of management," Gaborik said.
Fairly certain that I predicted this.
7. Gaborik is gone. Bye bye. Fletcher made too many comments about the best players on the team needing to "pay the price." I don't believe in his heart of hearts that Fletcher has any respect for Marian Gaborik. Remember, Fletcher has dealt with true, proven super stars that had smaller heads than our golden boy.
Fletcher never made an offer? Good. Gaborik did not deserve one. He did not deserve the deal he got from the Rangers. At best, he deserved a chance to join the once proud, then disintegrating, then proud again KHL.
The story of Gaborik not receiving an offer from Fletcher's team has been circulating, as these types of "controversies" do in the summer. Everyone is aghast at how silly it is to have not even made the guy an offer. The truth is, not making an offer was pure genius. Instead of offering upwards of $7 -8 million a year to a guy that has shown nothing publically except contempt, Fletcher used it to sign Martin Havlat at a nice cap hit that allows him to retain Mikko Koivu and Brent Burns, and also to add players to make the team better.
One other thing it does? Without coming right out and saying it, it shows that the new regime is listening to the fans. Gaborik rarely acknowledged the fans, rarely reached out to the community to establish the types of ties that people in Minnesota not only respect, but expect. Sure, there are some stories about Gaborik making the rounds at the local Children's hospitals, but nothing like we are used to seeing from our heroes in Minnesota. Prove me wrong.
Gaborik's meeting with Souhan, according to most reports was to say his final "thank you" to Minnesota. Here is that quote:
"I've been here for nine years," he said. "I just wanted to say a few things. I felt I owed it to the community and the people here to say thanks to all the fans that have been unbelievable through the years.
"The building was sold out every game, and the people, in general, were always nice. I wanted to thank my teammates I played with through the years, and the coaching staff, and the whole organization that pretty much brought me here and made me part of their family. I wanted to thank the ownership, too, and Mr. [Craig] Leipold and everyone."
You are welcome, Mr. Gaborik. You really are. You are welcome for nine years (well, 8 from me) of unconditional support. You are welcome for all of the times we tried to defend your honor on blogs and message boards, for all of the time we spent not buying into what the NHL media machine was sayng about you. You are welcome for the multiple millions of dollars we gave to you, willingly. You are welcome for 18, 568 people showing up for every game you ever played in the state. You are welcome.
Thank you for everything you did while here. Thank you for the hold out when your first contract was up. Thank you for allowing your teammates to shine in the playoffs while you went for a skate. Thank you for making it clear to your fellow NHLer that playing Minnesota was a place you hated more than anything on Earth. Thank you for the comment earlier this season about "If they would just pay me what I am asking..." It is all greatly appreciated.
One genuine thank you. Thank for the five goal game. That was, indeed fun to watch.
Enjoy New York. An organization known the world over for signing washed-up-has-beens and over-priced-never-really-were's. You mean that part was not included in the DVD they played for you? Oh, well, I'm sure they meant to tell you about that.
Your insincere thanks and your presence here are no longer welcome. Good bye, Mr. Gaborik. Unlike Fozzy, and Stephane Veilliex, you will NOT be missed. At least not by me.