Tortorella benches Gaborik against the Flyers

New York Rangers coach, John Tortorella, made a loud statement on Sunday night when he benched the teams’ third highest scorer, Marian Gaborik, during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers. Gaborik, who was the Rangers prized free agent signing in 2009, has been mired in an eight game goalless drought. In that middle period Tortorella took action by playing him for just over two minutes. Instead of getting his usual 19 minutes of ice time, Gaborik finished the game having played only 12 minutes, of what was a 3-2 Flyers win. Afterwards Tortorella was vague about why he benched his Slovakian sniper, who only had two shots and was a minus one on the night. “It’s just we need production. I’ll leave it at that,” Tortorella said. “We need production from him. We’ve got guys in there grinding their asses off and developing scoring chances. We need some of our skill guys to score a goal for us.” Since New Year’s Day, when Gaborik scored his last goal, he has played with various linemates, including Derek Stepan, Brandon Dubinski and Wojtek Wolski, but unfortauntely nothing has worked. “Obviously I haven’t produced much lately,” said Gaborik, who is stuck on 11 goals and 24 points. “Obviously in these type of games … where it’s a big game … but I’m not giving up. I’ve just gotta work hard, and work harder, and just try to get out of it. That’s the bottom line.” Last season Gaborik led the Rangers with 42 goals and obviously must re-capture that magic if the Rangers are to … not only make the playoffs … but go far this spring. After Sunday’s loss against Philadelphia the Rangers were averaging only 2.76 goals per game.

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