Johan Hedberg, Simon Gagne

A glance at Simon Gagne’s recent playoff comebacks


After people recovered from the inherent surprise of learning that Simon Gagne will make his Los Angeles Kings playoff debut tonight, many asked: is it really a good idea? Should a team that’s 14-2 in the postseason mess with the formula?

Well, if history tells us anything, it’s that Gagne might just make a difference. One odd result of his unfortunate concussion history (plus being on some good teams) is that Gagne’s been something of a poor man’s version of Willis Reed return a couple times already. Here’s a look at the results of his recent unexpected encores.


First game of postseason
Most recent game played: Dec. 26, 2011

2011 playoffs (Tampa Bay Lightning):

Gagne first played April 13-29 (two goals, five assists in eight games) then suffered a possible concussion. He returned on May 14 and played through May 27, collecting three more goals and two more assists in seven games, including a goal in his first game back.

2010 playoffs (Philadelphia Flyers):

Gagne played April 14-20 (two assists in four games) and then didn’t make another appearance until May 7.

From then on he played until the Flyers were defeated in the Stanley Cup finals (June 9) and he was a big reason they got there. He had four goals and five points in four contests during Philly’s historic comeback against the Boston Bruins, including two game-winners (one series-winner). He also scored a goal per game in the first two contests of the Montreal series before slowing down. Still, he was worth having around overall; Gagne had nine goals and one assist in 15 games back from the injury and had 12 points in 19 postseason games in 2010.

Career playoff numbers:37 goals, 22 assists and 59 points in 105 games, with 11 power-play goals and seven-game winners.


Considering how well he’s performed after “swooping in” to previous playoff years, it goes from a sensible if mildly risky move to an absolute no-brainer. In fact, the New Jersey Devils should probably make it a point to keep an eye on him in Game 3.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.