Simon Gagne: As good as he's ever looked. (Travis Hughes / SB Nation)
NEWARK -- We're here at Prudential Center for Stanley Cup Finals media day, and while most were swarming Jeff Carter and Mike Richards during Los Angeles Kings media availability, I had a chance to sneak in some one-on-one time with Simon Gagne.
He's yet to play in the postseason thus far, and while he's been cleared to play at this point, I unfortunately didn't have a chance to ask him about his concussion problems this season before I had to run. In any event, Gagne and I talked about the similarities in the Kings' organization versus with the Flyers and how he feels about the Flyers organization after two years away from home. A full transcript of our brief but fulfilling talk is below.
BSH: Obviously there's a lot of Philadelphia flavor here. How similar are things off the ice in terms of the structure of the organization?
GAGNE: It's pretty similar. Every time you go to a new place, a new team, it takes some time to get comfortable. To get used to people. I almost felt like I knew pretty much the whole staff, you know, when I got here. Hexy was upstairs, Dean Lombardi was upstairs. Even Luc Robitaille was not with the Flyers but I knew Luc from playing against him and seeing him at a couple events in the summer and stuff like that. I felt really welcomed right away with those guys.
At first, John Stevens is still here, but Terry Murray was the head coach at first so all that made the transition a lot easier. It almost felt like I was in Philly but playing in Los Angeles. It felt like that at first but you still see some resemblance between the two organizations, that's for sure.
The Devils are a team you're familiar with, obviously. What's been different about them this year as opposed to in other years? They definitely play a bit of a different style. What have you seen?
I got really surprised. Sure, I was watching what the Flyers were doing and they had to face the Devils in the second round. I got really surprised. I thought Philly was really good in the first round against Pittsburgh and I was thinking Philly was going to go all the way at that point. I just got really surprised the way Jersey outplayed them everywhere. They were faster. They were stronger on the puck. They spent almost half of the game in [the Flyers] zone.
At that point I said "Jersey are pretty scary," and you could see the way they played against New York it was almost too much for New York to handle. They're a team that if I remember last year when I was in Tampa, even if they didn't make the playoffs, the last push of the season they almost made it. I remember playing them and that was a really different team than the start of the season.
So all of that from last year, I think that push that they did got them ready for this year and maybe a similar season like us -- not a great start but a really strong ending and playing their best hockey at the best time of the season. They're gonna be a dangerous team for sure.
You said you still keep up with what the Flyers are doing a little bit?
Yeah. I was there for 10 years, so it's not something that you push it away and it's over. I still have fans there and there are still people working there that I spent 10 years of my life with. They're still part of me so it's something that's still gonna be part of it when I'm done playing. I had some good times there, that's for sure, but now I'm having a chance to be with L.A. in the Stanley Cup Final for the second chance in my career so I'm happy about that.
If there's anything you could say to fans in Philadelphia after a couple of years now ... ?
Whatever happened the last two years -- I didn't really have a chance to say thanks to them for what they did or whatever the Flyers did for me. When I came back that first game last season, that standing ovation was definitely something that I'll remember for the rest of my life. Just thinking about it sometimes and watching the video again, I get some chills, that's for sure.
It was something that I've never tasted in my life -- you know, having a standing ovation just for yourself. Usually it's for the whole team. That was definitely on the top of all the things I've tasted in my life as a hockey player and they're great fans.