Gaborik out of mind

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

With Marian Gaborik out of the Minnesota lineup for 10 weeks following Jan. 5 hip surgery, the Wild are trying to pretend their best player doesn't exist.

There's no sense pining for someone who isn't coming back until late March.

"We can't sit and say our top player isn't here, hasn't played all year and keep it on our minds," said head coach Jacques Lemaire. "Their game won't be up to par because they're thinking 'We don't have our top guy.' So we have, in a way, tried to put him aside and play the best we can with the roster we have."

It's a challenge. Not that they aren't used to Gaborik being out all the time with those nagging groin injuries, but they know he's a dynamic player who can make a big impact when he is in the lineup.

"It's such a distraction, whether he's going to play, what's his status is," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. "In a lot of ways they've just rallied around the certainty that he's not going to be in the lineup and this is what we have. It seems that they've played better since then."


Videos

Photos