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Simon Says: Come back home

by Anthony SanFilippo / Philadelphia Flyers

First it was Mike Knuble, now it’s Simon Gagne.

Anyone want to coax Peter Forsberg out of retirement?

All kidding aside, the Flyers bolstered their lineup with the addition of Gagne via a trade with the Los Angeles Kings that only cost the Flyers a conditional fourth round pick in the 2013 draft.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the pick becomes a third rounder if the Flyers make the playoffs.

Gagne, who turns 33 Friday, had fallen out of favor of Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter because he didn’t fit the more physical bruising style that Sutter wants to employee, said he was contemplating asking for a trade when the call came that he was being sent back to Philadelphia.

“It was definitely something in my mind the last couple days,” Gagne said. “I talked to my agent three days ago and the situation here you could tell was not going to get better, and we started talking about the options. It’s just a little different now. I have a family and I have two kids, and you’re thinking about them a lot more than you’re thinking about yourself.

“I was willing to suck it up maybe for a couple more games or couple more weeks and see what’s going to happen here, but at the end I knew it was not my place here and it was time to move on. It just happened like that. I didn’t have a chance to ask [Kings General Manager] Dean [Lombardi] or [Assistant General Manager Ron Hextall] to try to trade me, they just did it on their own. It just shows you the class those guys have. Even if it’s hard getting traded in the middle of the season, going to Philly – and they told me it was maybe the best place for me to go – they’re really gentlemen to do that to me this year.”

Gagne will get plenty of playing time with the Flyers, who are a little bereft of forward depth with injuries to Matt Read (torn rib muscles) and Tye McGinn (fractured orbital bone).

Expect to see Gagne in a more prominent role too, probably on the left wing of the second line, and not in a reduced role on the fourth line.

Gagne will likely also see time on the power play and the penalty kill, two areas he has excelled in during his career.

The addition of Gagne will also allow the Flyers, if they choose, to move Danny Briere back to center, a position he is far more comfortable playing than left wing.

The question will be, will coach Peter Laviolette have Briere center Gagne and Simmonds or Brayden Schenn?

Whichever the case, the other will drop to a third line between Ruslan Fedotenko and Knuble as the fourth line of Max Talbot, Sean Couturier and Zac Rinaldo have played well together.

Gagne becomes the fourth player to return to the Flyers this season for another run in the orange and black after being with other teams last season or earlier this season.

He joins Fedotenko, Brian Boucher and Knuble in that group.

Gagne had neck surgery last June, five days after winning the Stanley Cup with the Kings to relieve several problems he was having in his neck and head. He said he feels better than he has in years and is healthy enough to play a lot of hockey.

“I feel really good since the surgery,” Gagne said. “The neck problem was going on for quite a while and it was a tough situation the last couple years having the head injury, but who knows it was maybe more my neck sometimes. Having the surgery, finally finding a doctor here in LA that was willing to do the surgery – it was a tricky place to do the surgery, around the neck and close to nerves and stuff like that. After that I felt the difference right away, just overall - like in normal life - coming at the house, playing with the kids, sleeping at night, stuff like that, it makes a huge difference.

“I’m now really excited about that. I was looking forward to starting the season and playing pretty much every game but it was not the case. It’s a little bit difficult to be in the lineup and play and now try to see the difference, but I could tell I felt different on the ice and I feel better and I can’t wait to try it on a regular basis.”

Gagne was originally traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 19, 2010 in exchange for D Matt Walker and a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, which the Flyers used to select current Phantoms LW Marcel Noebels.

After posting 40 points in 63 games during the 2010-11 season with the Lightning, Gagne signed with the Kings as a free agent, where he appeared in 34 regular season games and four playoff games to help the Kings win the Stanley Cup last year.

In 10 seasons with the Flyers, Gagne scored 259 goals and 265 assists for 524 points and 278 penalty minutes in 664 career regular season games. He ranks ninth on the Flyers’ all-time list in goals (259) and 10th in points (524) and games played (664), while placing fourth in both goals and points among left wings in Flyers history.

In 90 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Flyers, he recorded 32 goals and 15 assists for 47 points, ranking eighth all-time in Flyers playoff history in goals (32) and tied for seventh in game-winning goals (6).

Over the course of his 10 seasons in Philadelphia, Gagne led the team in goals on three occasions (2001-02, 2005-06 & 2006-07) and twice in points (2005-06 & 2006-07). He has also been recipient of the Bobby Clarke Trophy, as the team MVP, on two occasions (2005-06 & 2006-07), while also being named to the mid-season NHL All-Star game twice (2000-01 & 2006-07).

A native of Ste. Foy, Quebec, Gagne was selected by the Flyers in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

In order to make room for Gagne’s $3.5 million cap hit, the Flyers placed Jody Shelly on the long-term injury list. Shelley will have hip surgery tomorrow.

McGinn suffered a broken orbital bone during a fight with Toronto’s Mike Brown. Holmgren said he will miss at least two weeks.

Gagne will again wear No. 12 for the Flyers (so you can take your old jerseys out of the moth balls). Harry Zolnierczyk, who was wearing No. 12, will switch to No. 37, becoming the first Flyer to wear that number since Eric Desjardins.


The Flyers Quebec Pee Wee team had a successful trip to the 2013 Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament that ended last Sunday at Le Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City.

This event is viewed by many as the most important minor hockey tournament in the world , grouping young hockey players 12-13 years old (all 2000 birth year).

About 2,200 young hockey players from 15 countries were in Quebec City to participate in the tournament. 

The Flyers team reached the semifinals, before losing to the eventual champions from Massachusetts.

The tournament takes place during a period of 11 days with crowds totaling around 200,000 fans, every year.

Many stars from the National Hockey League have passed through this Tournament including Brad Park, Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perrault, Mark Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Sylvain Côté, Eric Lindros, and many more.

Here is a breakdown of how the Flyers Quebec team played and some highlights from the tournament:

Flyers Quebec Team:

· Finished with a 5-1-2 record, reaching the semifinal round

o 2/16 vs. NY Islanders – 4-1 win

o 2/17 vs. Chomutov (Czech Republic) – 4-0 win

o 2/18 vs. North Bay (Ont.) Trappers – 6-0 win

o 2/20 vs. York-Simcoe (Ont.) Express – 3-3 tie

o 2/21 vs. Nickel City (Ont.) Sons – 0-0 tie

o 2/22 vs. Harfangs du Quebec – 5-2 win

o 2/23 Quarterfinal vs. Buffalo Sabres – 4-3 win (OT)

o 2/23 Semifinal vs. Minuteman (MA) Flames – 3-2 loss

· Top performers

o Zach Egber, F – 6 goals, 2 assists

o Kyle Peters, F – 2 goals, 4 assists

o David Mester, F – 3 goals, 2 assists

o Mattias Samuelsson, D – 8 assists (son of former Flyer Kjell Samuelsson)

o Dylan Green, D – 3 goals, 2 assists

o Benjamin Kraws, and Ian Graiff, G – combined 12 GA in 8 games

Other highlights:

· In the quarterfinal game vs. Buffalo on Saturday, Dylan Green scored on a wrister from the point with 2.3 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game 3-3. Kyle Peters sniped the game winner from the top of the right circle with 0.1 seconds left in overtime.

o Attendance at Le Colisee for the game was over 10,000, and the game was televised coast-to-coast in Canada on The Score network. Live updates were provided on CSN during the Flyers broadcast

o There was no time to celebrate, as the semifinals were later that evening back at Le Colisee

· In the semifinal game, Philadelphia defenseman Ryan McArthur ripped a shot off the crossbar with under three minutes remaining in a 2-2 game. The Minuteman Flames netted the game winner with just 1:42 remaining, and went on to win the championship game 4-0 against the Boston Jr. Eagles

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