Hockey

Gaborik ready to return for Wild

All-star forward Marian Gaborik will likely return to the lineup Wednesday night, when the slumping Minnesota Wild host the Calgary Flames at the Xcel Energy Center (7 p.m. MT).

All-star forward Marian Gaborik will likely return to the lineup Wednesday night, when the slumping Minnesota Wild host the Calgary Flames at the Xcel Energy Center (7 p.m. MT).

Gaborik, 26, has missed Minnesota's last 27 games with an unspecified lower body injury, presumably related to the chronic groin problem that has plagued him through his career. 

"More than likely I will go," he said. "I think I'm at the point where I can go out there and play a game.

"I don't think it will get any better. Obviously, sometimes I feel discomfort.

"But I think, by playing games, it is going to get there. To get out there and get into game shape, I'm looking forward to it."

Gaborik has been skating with the Wild for a week now, but he hasn't played since Oct. 14.

"I want to get out there and make a difference," he said. "But obviously, I want to be cautious."

Gaborik's return is a welcome one for the Wild, losers in their last five games and having scored just five goals during the skid.

But with great players come great expectations.

"A lot of people, they figure he is going to come back [and] he is going to settle every problem we have on this team," Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We're going to start to score five goals 5-on-5 and six on the power play — it won't happen."

Gaborik, who was hampered in the pre-season by a quadriceps problem, has scored once in two games this season.

He posted career highs in goals (42), assists (41) and points (83) last season.

Gaborik has totalled 207 goals and 415 points in 487 NHL games since he was drafted third overall by the Wild in 2000.

To make room for him on the roster, the Wild will likely demote forward Krys Kolanos to the AHL's Houston Aeros.

With files from the Associated Press

now