Injury bug bites Gaborik, Drury and Prospal

Ranger fans, despite living in Chicago, I feel your pain.

It's not a long stretch to say much of the team's success, and hopes of returning to the playoffs, will come as long as Marian Gaborik stays healthy this season.

Instead, it's a bumpy start for the black-and-Blueshirts in 2010-11.

Gaborik will miss up to three weeks with a shoulder injury suffered in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.

When New York signed Gaborik for five years and $37.5 million in July 2009, the risk was understood.

Though he left as the Minnesota Wild's all-time scoring leader, Gaborik had never played a full 82-game season while with them from 2000-09, suiting up for fewer than 66 contests four times.

Reason? He's 28, but Gaborik has a surgically repaired hip that limited him to 17 games in 2008-09, and a groin that's hovering closer to age 78.

How big a loss is this for New York? Despite failing to make the postseason by the slimmest of margins last spring, Gaborik accounted for 42 of the team's 219 goals and 44 of 370 assists.

“It’s tough, obviously, but it just means that the other 22 guys are going to have to step up, pick up the slack, and make sure we just find some ways to get some wins," forward Brandon Dubinsky told the Rangers' official website.

Gaborik's injury wasn't the only bad news for the Rangers on Friday. Captain Chris Drury - making his season debut after a finger injury - broke the same digit in a different place, and will miss six weeks.

Sorry. Not a big loss to me. I was hoping they could put him on the same island with Wade Redden.

This, however, is a bigger loss: The Rangers also said Vinny Prospal will have knee surgery Tuesday, and be out indefinitely. He was tied with Dubinsky for second with 20 goals, and alone in second with 38 assists.

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