As you have probably heard, Simon Gagne, who has been out with a concussion since December, has been cleared to play. It’s tempting — as fans — to imagine just chucking him in there and dreaming our dreams of glory. Plus, it’s a nice dream because if Gagne were to play at least one game in the final he would qualify to have his name engraved on any trophies the Kings might earn (the other way to get your name on the cup is to play 41 regular season games; he played 34, so he’s in the same boat as Loktionov, Drewiske, Westgarth and Parse…each of whom would have to make an appearance in the final in order to qualify [this is true for Carter, Nolan and King, also]).
The problem is, though, Gagne hasn’t played an NHL game in five months. As a point of comparison, Drew Doughty skipped training camp, and tried to jump right into game action in October, not having played a game in five months, and he was a step behind for weeks. He didn’t start looking like his old self until recently. And those were just regular season games. This is the Stanley Cup Final we’re talking about.
If there were a month left in the regular season, it would be reasonable to expect him to get up to speed by playoff time. But the Stanley Cup Final is a bad time to attempt a second training camp.
I have a different Simon Gagne-related question, though, which I will explore in my next post (gotta spread these things out — still three days with no hockey to go).