Gagne on Flyers’ Cleary pursuit: ‘It was like a slap in the face’

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The Philadelphia Flyers missed out on signing Dan Cleary and now they’ve upset Simon Gagne because of it.

Gagne tells Mathias Brunet of La Presse out of Quebec, translated at Gagne’s website, he’s disappointed the Flyers led him along all summer only to pursue Cleary instead.

“When I heard [Tuesday] that they had given a contract to Dan Cleary, it was like a slap in the face. I’m disappointed. I knew that hockey was a business, but with all the positive discussions we had with the GM Paul Holmgren, I can’t believe I’m not back with them.”

Of course, Cleary won’t be in Philly as he signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings this week. For what it’s worth, Holmgren says he’s fine with Cleary going to Detroit, but that won’t do much to ease Gagne’s sore feelings.

Gagne finished last season with the Flyers scoring five goals with six assists in Philly to go along with the five assists he had with Los Angeles. The final month of the season saw Gagne hit his stride scoring three goals and five assists during the team’s final 13 games.

While the Flyers don’t have the cap space to spare to make a signing, that didn’t stop their pursuit of Cleary. Now if they wanted to go to Gagne as a Plan B, they may have missed that opportunity.