October 14 Philadelphia Daily News:
“SIMON GAGNE says this has already been a long week.
On Saturday, Gagne made his regular-season debut with his new team, in a new city, in a new rink. Last night, Gagne returned to Montreal – approximately 3 hours from his hometown of Ste. Foy, Quebec – for the first time as a member of the Lightning, with family and friends watching at the Bell Centre.
Both of those firsts will pale in comparison to tonight, when Gagne returns to the city he called home for 11 years for the first time since his July 19 trade.
“It’s been a tough week for me,” Gagne said via phone in Montreal yesterday. “Going back there is going to be weird. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be tough to make sure that I go to the left side where we’re supposed to be and not the Flyers‘ locker room.
“I spent 11 years there. Eleven years in one’s life is a lot. And it’s not just the 11 years. I started my career there. I was a rookie there. When I left home for the first time I went to Philly. It became my second home.”
Gagne, who is playing in the final year of his contract, was dealt to Tampa Bay for defenseman Matt Walker and a fourth-round pick.
Gagne, 30, posted 524 points in 664 regular-season games. He ranks 10th on the Flyers‘ all-time list in games played, ninth in goals with 259, 10th in points and sixth with 47 game-winning goals.
He battled through injuries in last year’s playoff run to score nine goals in 19 games, including the series-clincher to cap off the Flyers’ come-from-behind, 3-0 series and 3-0 Game 7 deficits.
“It will be a little weird, seeing him in a jersey with the Lightning logo,” Scott Hartnell said. “He was a great guy and a great teammate. He had a lot of success here in Philadelphia for a long time. It will definitely be weird playing against him.”
When Gagne agreed to waive his no-trade clause in the summer, the Flyers were more than $4 million over the salary cap. His $5 million salary and proneness to injury made Gagne an easy target.
“This is the cap world that we live in,” Gagne said. “It was either him or me or someone else with a substantial cap hit, especially when you’re a year away from being an unrestricted free agent.”
Danny Briere said Gagne was not happy about leaving at first. In a summer interview on the Lightning website, Gagne referred to being in Tampa Bay for “just 1 year.””
The game time for Saturday night’s game between the Flyers and Penguins in Philadelphia has been moved from 7:08pm to 6:08pm. The change was made in response to the Phillies having a home playoff game the same night at 8:00pm.
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