Sink or swim.
Like many high-priced free agents before him, Marian Gaborik was held to the highest standards before ever stepping foot on Garden ice.
If he succeeded, he would garner the respect of the Garden faithful. If he failed, he would become the latest move in a series of overpaid overrated players to don the red, white, and blue.
But last night he exemplified why he is one of the leagues premier talents, so long as he stays healthy.
Following his first shift when he got knocked down, Gaborik settled in and began to show a lot of resolve with the puck.
While on the power play, Gaborik muscled past the defender in the corner and behind the net. The Red Wing penalty killers followed him leaving newcomer Enver Lisin wide open in the slot.
Gaborik precisely feathered a pass and the rest is history.
It's only the preseason, but Gaborik's presence was surely felt as he collected one of the Stars of the Game accolades. His speed was deceptive as he exhibited the ability to change gears very quickly.
Defenders struggled to keep up with him not just because of his quick hands, but because he used variation in his speeds to make them commit first.
His mannerisms on the ice were surprisingly similar to those of Mario Lemieux. Not comparing the two in skills or notoriety, but rather the style for which they both skated. Last night, on several occasions, the noticeable Slovak became less noticeable, sneaking behind defenders and laying low on the far blueline.
Something that Lemieux was famous for.
How can such a high profile player go unnoticed? In this case, it's skill. The ability to balance being seen and drawing players to you versus going undetected through the neutral zone. It is a scary advantage when used properly.
However, as Head Coach John Tortorella alluded to, Gaborik is not immune to mistakes, particularly in his own end.
Yet, while he did make some mistakes in the defensive zone, that isn't why the Rangers brought him in.
He is here to score goals and add an offensive dimension that was sorely missing last season. And he seems prepared to do that.
More news, notes, and quotes as we finish sorting through last night's post-game chats...
UPDATE: P.A. Parenteau sent to Hartford.
An expected move as Tortorella said he would like to make a couple cuts today. Parenteau had a decent camp, but doesn't seem destined to stay with an NHL club. His play is similar to that of a poor man's Ray Ferraro and with the depth the Rangers have of quicker forwards, it appears that his only chance to make an NHL team will be elsewhere.