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.