I waited until the smoke cleared to write this article. I didn’t want it to be an emotional piece. Here is something that I wrote after Simon Gagne kept the Flyers playoff hopes alive last season with a huge goal against Boston.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Simon Gagne came back early from his toe injury because his team needed him down 3-0 in the series. Well as it turns out he scored the OT game-winner to give his team the 5-4 win and now the series heads to Boston.
“It’s a good ending,” he said, in a crowded locker room. “I can’t ask for more. To be able to come back a bit earlier in the series, and to be able to score that big goal...It’s fun to score goals but when you get those in overtime it’s the best feeling in the world.”
That was Gagne (photo by del Tufo). Always willing to talk after a game and after searching the Sportsology archives I had written about so many of his “clutch” goals that it made me realize that he was the Flyers best clutch player during his tenure.
Gagne scored some spectacular goals and he would give you a quote like this after the game.
“Sometimes you are there at the right time,” Gagne said. “When you get hot it’s all about timing. It’s fun to get this one at home.”
He was the first guy to credit his teammates; he would criticize refs, and support his coaches. In short he was the consummate team player.
After his consecutive 40-goal seasons I asked him about that because that’s a helluva milestone and he said it was “nice” but would rather have gone to the playoffs but that season the Flyers were in dead last. It was the worst in franchise history and he didn’t like the taste that it left in his mouth.
His last All-Star appearance was in 2007 in Atlanta. I remember we followed him into the media area and he wasn’t really ready to talk but he looked at a few familiar faces and started early because that’s what he did. He respected the fans and respected the media.
I covered a Remparts game and the one thing that struck me was the fact that Gagne has his number hanging from the rafters there. He had some amazing seasons for them and for the Flyers and he probably has a few good ones in store for the Lightning. He’s a classy guy and a character player.
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