Kings winger Simon Gagne continues to make slow, steady progress in his recovery from the concussion he suffered in the Dec. 26 game against Phoenix. Gagne returned to the ice Friday for the first time and also skated Monday, Tuesday and today. There simply can’t be a timetable for Gagne’s return. Assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks, it’s reasonable to assume he would need a couple more weeks of conditioning skating before he could even think about getting into some game-related action. But, of course, that assumes Gagne’s symptoms stay under control, and there’s absolutely no guarantee of that. Gagne has suffered at least three concussions during his NHL career. For the first time since his latest injury, Gagne talked today about how he’s feeling and his prospects for the near future.
Question: You’re probably asked this five times a day, but how are you feeling?
GAGNE: “Not bad. I started skating Friday, so that’s one step. I’m still far away from playing a game, but at least I’m on the ice and I’m able to work on my skills and get the feeling of the ice, stuff like that. So that’s a good thing. It’s better than just riding the bike.’’
Question: Just in terms of everyday life situations, how are you doing?
GAGNE: “I don’t know right now. There’s a lot of things coming at the same time. I’ve been on the bike, but it was not really hard biking. Right now, I’m on the ice and trying to get into game shape. A lot of things come into factor. When I get back in game shape and all that, then we’ll be able to see what the difference is, in terms of how I feel. I’m still not 100 percent, but I see some improvement and that’s a good thing.”
Question: Any time you get a hit like that, it’s bad, but did you think, instantly, that something was really wrong there?
GAGNE: “It’s hard to know. I don’t think the hit was that bad. Maybe you just get hit in the wrong place. Sometimes it doesn’t take much. Sometimes maybe it’s not just that hit. It might be all the hits you took during the season, and you didn’t get effected by them but then that one (causes it). I didn’t really look back at the tape, so I don’t know, but I just know that I was not OK after. Who knows? Maybe it’s all the hits that you take early in the season, and then that one just takes you over. I’m not a doctor, and even the doctor doesn’t know. And maybe it was just that one hit, at the right place. So, I’m working on it. I’ve got some exercises to do, from the doctor, for my balance and stuff like that. I’m able to work on that, and slowly I’m starting to see some improvements, so that’s a good thing.”
Question: Because it’s not just about hockey, it’s about living your life, right?
GAGNE: “I’ll be 32 years old at the end of this month, and I’ve got two kids. I remember my first one in the league, and you don’t think about that stuff. You just want to get back on the ice. You don’t think too much about your future. Who knows, on those others [concussions] maybe I should have taken more time. I was trying to get back as soon as possible. Not that I’m not trying to do that now. I’m trying to get back as soon as possible, but at 100 percent. The other ones, maybe I was just coming back when I was good enough to go back and play. Who knows? When we find out those answers, I’ll be way gone, but at least you start to see some improvement from the doctors’ standpoint, and the way they treat those injuries now. The doctors and the training staff here, they do a really good job. I’m really impressed by that. But you do think about your future, and that’s why when I come back now — maybe because I’m older, and when you get older you get smarter — I’ll come back at 100 percent. That’s going to be for sure this time.”