Simon Gagne, cleared to play — ready for primetime?

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).


  6 comments for “Simon Gagne, cleared to play — ready for primetime?

  1. Topher_lee
    May 26, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    it would be ridiculous not to have gagne in. power play efficiency would increase and in the last five years he has been one of the best playoff performers hands down. hes been in the league a long time and deserves a shot, especially if he gets the chance to be immortalized on lord stanley. sutter is a good coach but i think his irrationality will stand in the way of what could be an epic comeback 

    • May 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      Yes, that would be nice. I’m just not sure it’s good to coach from that wish. 

  2. Garrett79
    May 26, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    I’m not sure what I’d do, but I’m leaning toward using him sparingly on power plays and maybe a few 4th line minutes in place of Jordan Nolan, splitting shifts with other productive forwards who earn a little extra time on the ice.

    If he’s on the power play primarily then not being as on his game as you’d hope at this time of year probably wouldn’t be as big of an issue. And he might help what has been the only wanting aspect of the Kings’ game this postseason against what was the NHL’s best PK in the regular season (though it has not been as good in the playoffs).

    Either way, I wouldn’t change anything for Game 1. If the power play clicks then, maybe I wouldn’t make a change at all. If nothing else, putting Gagne in the lineup gives the Kings a new look that the Devils can’t watch tape on because he has never been there in the Carter era so they bring a whole new aspect to things.

  3. USHA#17
    May 27, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    It great that he can be held in reserve should Suter have to dig deep.  But but playing, not now. 

    Your dead on.  If it takes weeks/months to come up to regular season pace, how could seven games get a player ready in time to contribute, much less avoid injury? 

    In respect to the last month (of this season), considering how close the playoff race was I doubt the team could or should have risked using him in the last month, even if he were ready. His return would have been too disruptive for a team just jelling in time for a run. 

  4. GShuchuk99
    May 28, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    It’s my understanding that Gagne would have gotten his name on the Cup (assuming the Kings win) because he missed the remainder of the season due to injury.  Teams often petition to have names added in this kind of circumstance… Bryan Muir played just 8 games for Colorado in 2001 but because he missed the remaining games due to injury colorado was allowed to include him.  This has happened several times.  I wonder if Gagne being back and ready to play means that the Kings wont be able to petition to have his name included on the cup because he could have played in this series.

  5. May 29, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    In case of going down 2-0, break glass.  At that point, they’ll need a spark.

    If they get a split in New Jersey, then don’t worry about it for the remainder of the series.

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