Was Gaborik Really Benched???

Larry Brooks of the NY Post reports that Tortorella benched Gaborik (and the rest of the top line, other than one shift for Dubinsky) for about 10 minutes of the second period.  Tortorella has not commented on this publicly yet.  If true, this is a shocking development.  While I fully appreciate a coach treating all of his players equally, there is NO WAY Gaborik should have been benched.  To be clear, I am not saying that Gaborik should never be benched.  Just that his quality of play and/or conduct was nowhere near the level warranting such drastic action.  Especially in such a close game.  Gaborik leads the NHL in goals and accounts for 25% of the entire team’s goals — by far the highest percentage in the league.  So what if he’s had a few “off” games in a row.  He’s clearly doing something right.  Plus, he’s never been the type of dominating player that commandeers games start to finish, like Ovechkin or Iginla.  He’s more like a black mamba snake.  Lying in the weeds, then pouncing when the opportunity arrives.  He makes his lethal mark before you even know he was there.  Hopefully Torts knows Gaborik is the type of veteran who will handle his benching (if that’s what it was) like a leader and understand that it is less about him individually than it is about sending a message to a young impressionable team.  Cause if he was benched solely to motivate him, my jaw just hit the floor and my impression of Tortorella irrevocably diminished.  Like I’ve been saying all season, coach.  Do not overcoach.

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Tags: John Tortorella Marian Gaborik

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