EL SEGUNDO – Marian Gaborik was technically the first member of the Kings to begin training camp.
The forward took the ice alone at Toyota Sports Center at 7 a.m Wednesday. But he was gone an hour later when the team began its first official practice of the 2017-18 season.
His recovery from April surgery on a chronic left knee injury isn’t yet complete, meaning Gaborik isn’t a sure bet to be healthy enough to participate in any portion of training camp with the rest of the team.
The 35-year-old Slovak is a prime example of the challenges facing a Kings team no longer operating on the trajectory of the young, up-and-coming group that won a pair of Stanley Cups earlier this decade.
Age is becoming a real factor – both on the ice and in the checkbook. Five of the six highest-paid Kings are 30 or older.
Even franchise center Anze Kopitar, 30, can’t ignore father time.