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Will he or won’t he play? Simon Gagne questionable tonight

Nov 24, 2010, 6:20 PM EST

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Remember Simon Gagne? You know, the guy who was leading the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals last year who now plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning? Sure, you remember him but you haven’t seen much from him of late. Gagne’s missed the last 15 games for Tampa Bay and giving Flyers fans a reason to chuckle at the Lightning who felt that Gagne would be the answer to their offensive questions on the left wing.

Gagne’s been out of the Lightning lineup with a neck ailment that’s kept him out of action. So far this season in limited action, Gagne’s been very ineffective. Over six games, Gagne has zero points and a plus/minus rating of -8. That, to say the least, is ugly. With the Lightning set to take on the Rangers tonight, Gagne is close to returning and may even suit up tonight. We don’t know for sure yet and Lightning coaches haven’t been helpful in sharing. Damian Cristodero shares the mystery from Guy Boucher.

“He’s getting close, but we’ll see. He needs a bit more practice time with the team, but we’ll see. I don’t want to rule him out, but eh reality is he had only one practice with the team with the morning skate.”

So, it’s a timing thing?

“There’s timing involved here,” Boucher said. “If he would have had three or four practices with the team, he’d be a lot closer. He’s closer than he was before.”

And here’s the kicker:

“You never know,” Boucher said. “Maybe on Friday (at Washington) will be more realistic. Maybe he’s going to have a great nap this afternoon.”

We’ll know soon enough if the nap was good for Gagne, but whenever he does get back in the Tampa lineup, having him produce the way he’s capable of doing would be a huge lift to the team. Vincent Lecavalier is out and Steve Stamkos is doing all the heavy lifting for the offense. Getting Gagne going will give the Lightning better production and a better shot at making a run at the playoffs.

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