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Bruins' Gagne leaving team to be with sick father

NHL.com @NHL

Boston Bruins forward Simon Gagne has taken a leave of absence from the team, the Bruins announced Wednesday.

"I have taken a personal leave of absence from the Boston Bruins in order to return home to Quebec to be with my father, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer," Gagne said in a statement released by the Bruins. "The doctors, who have been great throughout this whole process, unfortunately informed us that his cancer is not curable. I greatly appreciate the support and understanding that the Bruins organization and my teammates have given to me and my family since I let them know the news and I look forward to rejoining them when the time is appropriate. Until then, I would kindly ask everyone to respect my family and I's privacy during this difficult time."

Gagne, 34, has three goals and one assist in 24 games this season. He signed with the Bruins on Oct. 14 after not playing last season.

"I can speak firsthand," Bruins president Cam Neely said, according to the Boston Globe. "It's difficult when you're thousands of miles away and your family, especially your parents, are going through something difficult. It's hard to keep focus on what you have to do. So it's very important for the organization to not only understand it but respect it and give a player the opportunity to do what they need to do."

Neely said he was unsure how long Gagne might be away from the team.

"It's really going to boil down to where he feels he needs to be," Neely said.

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