Slovakia may be without one of its best players in Sochi.
Marian Gaborik’s agent, Ron Salcer, told the Columbus Dispatch on Monday his client was a “long shot” to play at the Winter Olympics due to a broken collarbone, one that’s sidelined Gaborik since mid-December.
This development comes just days after head coach Todd Richards said Gaborik wouldn’t be ready to rejoin the Blue Jackets lineup prior to the Olympic break, adding he was unsure if Gaborik would even be medically cleared to join the Slovak team.
The 31-year-old was a key performer during Slovakia’s surprising fourth-place finish at the ’10 Winter Games in Vancouver. Gaborik led the team with four goals in seven games and averaged over 17 minutes a night.
If he’s unable to go, Slovakia will have an extremely difficult time replacing his offense and overall pedigree. The country doesn’t have a wealth of NHL talent to choose from — all 13 active Slovaks in the league made the Olympic team, which includes Chicago sniper Marian Hossa and Boston captain Zdeno Chara.