I might be hearing things. It's possible. That's why I need you all to correct me if I am.
There's this video up on the official site of the Tampa Bay Lightning. It's of Simon Gagne, arriving at their practice facility at some point this week. He's speaking with the media, they're asking him questions like "why did you want to come to Tampa?" even though, despite waiving a no-trade clause, it's pretty obvious he didn't have a choice, etc etc.
But dumb questions from the media isn't the point of this post. Here's where I need some help: watch the interview with me. It's difficult to stomach (especially for some of you) but you might just be rewarded with some hope and optimism (okay, probably not) at the end of it.
Simon does seem genuinely excited to be in Florida, and really, despite the fact that he's not playing in his adoptive home city anymore, there is reason to be excited about joining the Lightning. He lists all the reasons: playing with Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, the new coach, the new ownership, Steve Yzerman making things happen.
There are reasons to be excited.
But you and I both heard what he said in there, right? At around the 1:05 mark, Simon almost makes a point of saying "I'm looking forward to playing one season with those guys." And the last words out of his mouth at the end of the interview were "I think it's going to be fun to spend one year in Florida."
Okay, so maybe we're reading into this too much. (And don't for a second think that this means Gagne is coming back, because that bridge seems burned at this point.) His contract expires at the end of this season and he'll be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. But okay, picture this:
Chris Pronger, talking with the media on draft day in 2009. He's just been traded to the Flyers. Speaking with the media, he says "I'm looking forward to spending one season with the Flyers." Not only does he say it once, but he says it twice. This town would have freaked out.