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Surgery to sideline Flyers' Gagne 6-8 weeks

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers All-Star left wing Simon Gagne will have surgery Tuesday to repair issues with his abdominal and groin muscles and will miss about 6-8 weeks.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren confirmed that Gagne, who has missed the last two games with a groin injury, will have a procedure performed to repair the rectus abdominus muscles on each side of his groin area.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. William Meyers at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. Meyers is considered an expert in this field.

Holmgren said Meyers also will perform a laparoscopic procedure to check the status of a pair of small hernias in his right groin.

"Simon is going to have surgery tomorrow to repair or reinforce his rectus abdominus (muscles) on both sides," Holmgren said. "At the same time he's going to look and see laparoscopically through his belly button at the smaller hernias and repair those as well.

"We're probably looking at 6-8 weeks before Simon can play."

Meyers is the third doctor Gagne has seen in his search for a resolution to his latest core-muscle issue. 

"After meeting with three doctors and a different opinion on a lot of things, we went right to the bottom (of it) to make sure we were making the right decision for myself, for the team and for the future, to go and do the surgery," Gagne said. "So basically now we are going to go ahead and do the surgery and after that get on a program after the surgery to make sure those types of injuries don't happen to me anymore."
"It's just more Simon feeling comfortable with what's going on," Holmgren said. "I think deep down he just wanted to know, which is his right. It does seem frustrating at times, but at the end of the day you have to trust the player and Simon's been through a lot. You want to make sure you get it right."

"It's just more Simon feeling comfortable with what's going on.  I think deep down he just wanted to know, which is his right. It does seem frustrating at times, but at the end of the day you have to trust the player and Simon's been through a lot. You want to make sure you get it right."
-- Flyers Gm Paul Holmgren

Gagne's loss is a big one for the Flyers. The two-time NHL All-Star is a two-time 40-goal scorer, but he's lacked the explosiveness in his skating that defined his game and made him one of the best two-way forwards in the League. Some of that was chalked up to offseason hip surgery, but the latest injury cropped up following Sunday's loss to the San Jose Sharks. He played just 11:44 and hasn't played since.

"It's hard to take because surgery you usually try and stay away from during the season," said Gagne. "The offseason is there for that. At the same time there's never good timing in the season to have surgery, but it's still early in the season. I'll miss close to two months and I'll have time to get back in shape and get my game back and feeling 100 percent when I'm skating. That's something I wasn't able to do right now. That's why I think the decision was made to go ahead and do the surgery.

"After that I'll be ready to have a strong end of the season and be 100 percent, then I'll be healthy. But to be 100-percent and ready for the playoffs, I think it's the right decision. It's something that's been kind of bothering me for a long time, not only this year, but from last season. I think we made the right decision to go ahead and fix everything. After that, I'll get on a special program that a lot of others have had and had no problems in their career that followed. If I follow that and get the surgery I should be good. I want to stay away from that type of injury in the future."
The Flyers also are without right wing Danny Briere, who pulled a muscle in his right leg. The good news is it's not related to the groin injury that sabotaged last season; the bad news is he's also going to need more time to recover.

In the meantime, Holmgren said he would be looking to the players currently on the roster to raise their collective level of play.

"We're going to continue to lean on the guys we've got," Holmgren said. "Some of our younger players have come up. James (van Riemsdyk) has played very well. David Laliberte had a good game last game. We'll see how it goes for a while. It'll be nice to have Danny back, I don't think that's a long-term thing right now. The other guys just have to pick it up."

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