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Injury forces Gagne to head home from camp

by Todd Kimberley
CALGARY -- Simon Gagne had been at the Canadian 2010 Olympic camp less than 24 hours when national team officials decided to fold his tent.

The Philadelphia Flyers' star reportedly aggravated a hip injury during his first practice of the camp Monday evening at Calgary's Pengrowth Saddledome.

The two-time 40-goal scorer from Ste-Foy, Que., had undergone right hip surgery at the end of May to remove a bone spur, and had been back on blades during the second week of August.

"We're going to send him home," said Canadian head coach Mike Babcock Tuesday afternoon. "He's got tightness in his groin, which he's had in the past. He's going back to see his own doctor (Flyers team doctor Peter DeLuca, Wednesday in Philadelphia), which we think is real important just to compare the last time the doctor saw him. So he's unavailable for the rest of this camp."

Gagne told the Camden Courier Post Tuesday that "for now, it's nothing serious ... the pace was a little faster than I was used to this summer. I think I'll be OK for (Philadelphia's) training camp (next month)."

Gagne was one of the more internationally experienced players invited to this week's 2010 Canadian evaluation camp, with appearances at a world championship, the 2004 World Cup, and the 2002 and '06 Winter Games to his credit.

The line of Gagne, Jarome Iginla and Joe Sakic was the balance of power during the gold-medal final of the 2002 Games at Salt Lake City, which saw Canada defeat the United States 5-2.
Gagne had also sat out the pre-2002 orientation camp due to injury, allowing Iginla to earn his shot at the '02 Olympics.
"It was a little tight when I was skating on my own, but the tempo here is a lot faster than the pace I set this summer," Gagne said. "I'll need to do some more rehab."

Teammate Mike Richards, one of four Flyers invited to this camp, along with Jeff Carter and Chris Pronger, said Gagne was reluctant to leave.

"I talked to him briefly, and he had to go back and see doctors and make sure he was ready for the beginning of the season," Richards said. "He still wants to be here, but most important is him getting better, and working towards the beginning of the year.'

Babcock said the Canadian brass will not name an in-camp replacement for Gagne.

"We don't want to put anybody behind the 8-ball, bring him in late and give him an unfair opportunity," said the Canadian head coach.
"What we've decided to do ... some guys are getting a little more ice time than they want to. We'll flip that around, and give (Martin) St. Louis and (Jonathan) Toews a linemate here tomorrow, and make someone else work hard."
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