There was quite a sight at the Kings’ first practice in preparation for the Stanley Cup finals today — forward Simon Gagne took part.
This is the furthest step in the 32-year-old’s recovery from a concussion suffered on Dec. 26. Gagne missed 48 games during the regular season — and, obviously, all 14 of L.A.’s playoff games — and only recently resumed skating with the Kings’ prospects and Black Aces.
(Frozen Royalty’s Gann Matsuda reports Gagne said he’s “back to 100% and is symptom-free.”)
Gagne skated on the scratch/fifth line at practice and while his return lit up Twitter and message boards, many L.A. media members — including the L.A. Times’ Helene Elliott — said they can’t see Gagne in the lineup for the Cup finals.
That said, it would be a great story if he could.
Gagne signed a two-year, $7 million deal with Los Angeles last summer with the expectation of being a top-six forward (he also contributed to the “Flyers West” theme that started with Mike Richards and assistant coach John Stevens, later continued with Dean Lombardi’s trade deadline acquisition of Jeff Carter.)
Two things to consider here, even though his return is unlikely:
1) Gagne’s been to a conference and Stanley Cup final, but he might never have a better chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s mug. He’s probably desperate to get back in.
2) The Kings organization has all but ruled out Gagne’s return, but remember that Vancouver did the same thing with Manny Malhotra last postseason…until he returned for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?