's chances of playing for Slovakia in Sochi were slim due to his injury. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
On a day dominated by talk of who is, and who isn't, going to Sochi, this news might be the least surprising so far.
Injured Blue Jackets winger Marian Gaborik made it official today, announcing that he was removing himself from Slovakia's roster for the 2014 Olympic Games.
“I’m extremely disappointed that I won’t be able to play for Slovakia at the Olympic Games but understand the decision is the right one for my recovery and for the national team,” Gaborik said in a statement. “I have been lucky and proud to represent my country at two Olympic Games and other international tournaments and look forward to doing so again in the future.”
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Gaborik had competed in two previous Olympic tournaments (2006 and '10), scoring seven goals and 12 points in 13 games. He suffered a broken collarbone in a game against the Flyers on Dec. 21 and has yet to return to action.
“Marian has worked extremely hard and done everything possible to rehabilitate his injury and return to the ice with the hope of representing his country in Sochi,” said Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen. “We share his deep disappointment that he will not be able to do so, but are optimistic that he will be fully recovered very soon.”
It may not have come from out of the blue, but this is still a huge loss for Slovakia, a country that doesn't have the talent base to easily replace a top-six scoring forward like Gaborik. No word yet on who will draw in for the tournament, but he's not likely to be a familiar name to North American fans. All 14 Slovakian NHLers were named to the team back on Jan. 7.