Monday, May 5, 2008

Gagne return unlikely

Over a month ago, I discussed the possibility that Simon Gagne, who has been out since February with concussion symptoms, might return to the ice if the Flyers make the Stanley Cup Finals. Well, with the Flyers a mere four wins away from the Stanley Cup Finals, it now seems there is little hope that Gagne will be suiting up any time soon.

When asked about Gagne's possible return to the ice, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren believes he's "not an option no matter how long this thing goes". Gagne was with the team in Montreal, but he hasn't done anything on skates yet and is still far from being able to return. Holmgren feels that it would be best for Gagne to wait until next season and not try to rush back.

As I watch the Flyers this postseason, every now and then I wonder about how good this team would be with Simon Gagne in the lineup. He is a two-time 40 goal scorer and an offensive force. He would look really good on the top line, paired up with Danny Briere and Vinny Prospal. Imagine how much better this team would be if you add one more sniper to the mix. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Gagne will be coming back any time soon, but it might be for the best. After all, anyone who has been following the Flyers for the last decade knows what happened the last time a superstar player tried to come back too soon. It was painful watching Eric Lindros get crushed by Scott Stevens, and a hit like that on Gagne would likely end his career.

Rushing Gagne would make little sense in the long run so it looks like we can only wonder how good this team would be with its best pure goal scorer on the ice. With how intense every shift of playoff hockey is, he would be foolish to try to come back in this environment. It would be better for him to try things out again next September when there is no pressure and there aren't five guys trying to crush him every time he touches the puck. The Flyers don't necessarily need Gagne, but it would sure be nice to see #12 back on the ice next season.

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