The Flyers’ 2009-2010 campaign may been dealt a huge blow before the doors to Training Camp even opened.
Simon Gagne, a player who will be counted upon this season to build off his 34-goal mark a year ago with a slimmer offensive corps, left Team Canada’s Olympic Training Camp less than 24 hours after it started after re-aggravating a hip injury. Gagne, who was invited to the Olympic camp alongside current Flyer teammates Jeff Carter, Chris Pronger, and Mike Richards, was sent home at the discretion of Team Canada officials earlier Tuesday, who feared more participation in the camp could mean a more prolonged absence from future on-ice activity for the former All-Star. Gagne is vying for his third appearance on Team Canada’s roster at an Olympic Games – he was a member of the 2002 Salt Lake City Gold Medal Squad – and still appears to be one of the favorites to don the red Maple Leaf in Vancouver come February. However, this injury has some serious repercussions for the Flyers.
For those of you who are thinking, “Gagne? injury? That sounds familiar…”, ponder no longer. Yes, Gagne and an injury are, unfortunately, a recently synonymous pairing. Back in the 2007-’08 season, Gags was on the shelf for much of the year with concussion-related issues, and missed the entire magical playoff run of that year. Last season he stayed relatively healthy (79 games played), but this injury could pose a road block for what needs to be a huge season from the star forward in Philadelphia. With the off-season departures of Mike Knuble and Joffrey Lupul, Gagne, among others, is going to be severely counted on to produce more offensively than he did last year. And even though Gagne was quoted on NHL.com as saying he “thinks he’ll be OK for Training Camp next month,” a hip injury is certainly nothing to fool around with. For strides on the ice and positioning in front of and around the net, hip movement is crucial and a simple hip aggravation can quickly turn into a nagging injury that can leave a player out for long periods of time.
The good news in all this, of course, is that Gagne isn’t panicking. In fact, the article states the forward didn’t agree necessarily with the decision to be sent home from the camp, but understood it was a necessary precaution. In all reality, this injury will be closely monitored by folks like Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin in the coming weeks, as the Flyers can ill-afford to lose a player of Gagne’s caliber right before the start of the season. Stay tuned for more on this issue, as Flyers Training Camp is just a mere three weeks away.