It was a game of war last year between John Tortorella, the coach of the Rangers, and Marian Gaborik, the marquee forward of the Rangers, that proved much like the fictional thermonuclear war in the movie "War Games."

Because no one could win.

Not the coach, whose team finished in eighth place before being routinely dispatched in a five-game first-round playoff series, and not the world-class athlete, who struggled through an unhappy season in which he scored a comparatively meager 22 goals in 62 games.

But upon leaving North America at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, Gaborik dedicated himself to wiping out the sour taste of the season and becoming a player in Tortorella's mold if that's what it would take; to get out of the express lane and into the bumper-to-bumper traffic.