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NHL: Columbus adds Gaborik for playoff push

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Slovakian star Marian Gaborik, who has scored 40 goals in a three different NHL seasons, was traded from the New York Rangers to the Columbus Blue Jackets just prior to Wednesday's trading deadline.

The Gaborik trade was the biggest of about a dozen deals Wednesday that also noteworthy because of trades involving goaltenders that didn't get done.

The Vancouver Canucks failed to trade disgruntled goaltender Roberto Luongo and Calgary was reportedly unable to deal all-star Finnish netminder Mikka Kiprusoff, who wants to retire as a Flame.

Luongo blamed his hefty $6.7 million a season contract as the main stumbling block in him moving on.

"My contract sucks," Luongo said Wednesday. "I'd scrap it if I could right now."

Goborik though was pleased to get out of New York and headed to Columbus who are hoping that the speedy forward is the last piece of the puzzle in them making the playoffs this year.

"When somebody wants you and somebody's trying to trade you it is nice to know that somebody actually wants you on their team," Gaborik said.

Columbus will ship three players, centre Derick Brassard, defenceman John Moore and forward Derek Dorsett, to New York.

The 31-year-old Gaborik ranked third in the NHL with 41 goals last season and has nine in 35 games this year.

The Rangers, who were one of the pre-season favourites to make a run at winning the Stanley Cup, are last in the NHL with a total of 82 goals for.

"We weren't playing consistently enough," Gaborik said. "We had a great team on paper. We had a lot of talented guys. We just couldn't execute as far as scoring goals and the power play hasn't been great."

Gaborik has scored 30 or more goals in seven of his 12 NHL seasons. He has starred in numerous international tournaments for Slovakia, including the 2006 Turin Olympics and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

He won a bronze medal with Slovakia in the 1999 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

Gaborik agreed to waive his no-trade clause to get the deal done and he joins a Columbus team that is 10-2-3 since March 3.

In other deals Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired goaltender Ben Bishop from the Ottawa Senators for centre Cory Conacher and a fourth-round draft choice.

Bishop is 8-5-0 this season with one shutout and a 2.45 goals-against average and is 15-13-3 with two shutouts and a 2.58 GAA in 36 games over four seasons in the NHL with St. Louis and Ottawa.

Also, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Finnish forward Jussi Jokinen from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2013 and the San Jose Sharks re-acquired Canadian defenceman Scott Hannan from Nashville. Hannan was a first-round draft pick by San Jose in 1997.

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