One of the saddest days as a Flyers' fan. I was sad to see John LeClair and Mark Recchi go, but none of those has effected me like this has. I really thought that number 12 was gunna be the next number to be retired into the rafters of the Wachovia Center. But unfortunately we now have to see our longest tenured Flyer take his talents to anther city. This is a hard thing to swallow.
Ever since I started watching hockey, I was a Flyers' fan, and I'm from Montreal. And ever since I've watched the Flyers, I've watched Simon Gagne. He was here for the past decade. I've seen him on lines with Primeau and Roenick, to Forsberg and Knuble, and finally ending with Richards and whoever else was there. Gagne has always blead orange, and has shown the passion that you need to have to be a hockey player.
I remember watching the Tampa Bay series (ironic isn't it) six years ago with my dad, and jumping for joy while watching overtime in game 6. When Gagne put the Keith Primeau rebound in to force game 7. That was probably the highlight of Gagne's career. A 24 year old kid winning it in OT for his team in the conference finals.
I also remember watching him lead us in 2005-2006. He scored a career high 47 goals that year alongside Peter Forsberg and Mike Knuble. He and his linemates were the reason why we made the playoffs that year. He was in his prime and he truly was one of the best players in the league at that time.
Or in 2006-07. When the Flyers in the basement of the N.H.L., and had a franchise worst season. The whole season was pretty much crap am I right? Well it was all bad except for Gagne. Despite playing for this terrible Flyers team, he still put in 42 goals and finnished a plus 2 on the season.
I remember Gagne delivering another 30-goal season in 2008-09. He had a bounce back season from an injury proned previous one. He was the old Simon Gagne again, and was playing like he was in years past. He was at the top of his game.
Finally, I remember this season. But I don't recall his injuries and his dissapointing 17 goals. No, I remember him being our saving grace in the playoffs. How he cam into the building on crutches in game 4, and won the game for us in OT to force game five. If that wasn't enough, he potted in two more goals in game 5 to force game six. Once game 7 came around, he scored the game-winning goal to complete the comeback and propell us into the Eastern Conference Finals.
Unfortuantely, Paul Holmgren decided not to look at his tremendous skills, never say die attitude and leadership in the locker room, but the injury and salary factors. We all know Gagne would've taken a pay cut next year to stay in Phildelphia, and would've have performed great this season if given the chance. Now we have to watch our beloved Flyer walk away and play phenomenal somewhere else. The only thing I can hope for now is if he can return to Philly next year, even though I doubt it. But even if he never plays in the City Of Brotherly Love again, he will always be a Flyer, and no jersey will ever change that.
THANK YOU SIMON GAGNE!