Before he returned to the lineup in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, Simon Gagne had been sidelined since Christmas with a concussion. The 32-year-old signed a two-year deal last July with Los Angeles with the hopes of adding a veteran presence to an already-formidable team.
Before being sidelined, Gagne played in 34 regular games for the Kings, averaging a point every two games. A native of Ste-Foy, Quebec, Gagne scored seven goals and added ten assists while healthy. His Cup run with Philadelphia in 2010 to go along with being so familiar with Mike Richards made Gagne a nice fit in Los Angeles – and he proved to his team that he was a sound investment, at least for the short-term.
Unfortunately, the concussion history caught up to Gagne and from Christmas on, he didn’t play another regular season game. In addition, he missed the first three rounds of the playoffs. However, with the Kings up 2-0 in their Finals series with New Jersey, the coaching staff decided to put a now-healthy Gagne into the lineup. Many believed, despite his talent, that Gagne’s return may halt Los Angeles’ momentum. Although they won Game 3, the Kings lost the next two. Why mess with a good thing?
While Gagne’s post-season wasn’t anything that jumped out (he didn’t record a single point in his four games), his presence alone was good enough to put his team over the top. While we can be critical of his lack of performance, we must remember that Gagne did return after missing months with a concussion.
In those four games, Gagne had an average of just over eight minutes of ice time. He may not have been able to do very much but that was okay.
Until his injury, Gagne produced at a regular pace for the Kings and we hope to see more of that for the coming season. Above all, though, we hope to see Gagne stay healthy as we all know what he can do when he is. He may not have been in the lineup for a long time but Simon Gagne is just as important to the Los Angeles Kings as anyone else – and I look forward to seeing back on the ice in the fall.
Photo: Courtesy of Ric Tapia/AP