Simon Gagne is being honored tonight by the Flyers before they take on the Kings. The Kings of course, are the team that Simon managed to win a Stanley Cup with. Gags is one of, if not my favorite Flyer of all time. He sits right up there with Lindros, Brindy, and Rico. For an all too short while, Gagne was one of the most electrifying and dangerous snipers in the NHL during the mid 2000’s. Every time Gagne touched the puck the game would seem to slow down and he seemed like a threat to score or create an opportunity.
The Ste. Foy native may not have had a very long career, due to injuries, but during his career, Gagne was productive and highly decorated. In 822 regular season games played, he scored 291 Goals on top of 310 assists, good for 601 points. He also would add 59 points (37G – 22A) in 107 playoff games. Internationally, Gagne won the silver medal with Canada at the 1999 World Juniors. He later won the 2002 Olympic Gold at Salt Lake City as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He followed that up with a silver medal at the 2005 IIHF World Championships and also represented Canada at the 2006 Olympics in Torino.
In his NHL career, Gags was named to the 1999-2000 All Rookie Team, He was a 2-time All-Star as well, representing the Flyers in both 2001 and 2007. Simon also received the Bobby Clarke Trophy for Flyers MVP twice for his performances in 2005-06 and 2006-07. His career ultimately culminated in his 2012 Stanley Cup triumph with the LA Kings. Simon Gagne was also just the 2nd player in the history of the Quebec Remparts (his Junior team) to have his number retired. The first was Guy Lafleur. Alexander Radulov has since followed them.
I think what endeared Gagne to me most though, was his penchant for murdering the Devils. During the height of the Devils-Flyers rivalry, at the apex of Marty Brodeur’s career, Simon Gagne always was there to make the best goalie of all time look human. Simon is the all time leader in goals scored vs. Marty Brodeur with 24 goals! To put that in perspective, that’s 25% more goals than 2nd placed Jaromir Jagr has against Marty with 18. Gagne has 26 career goals against the Devils overall, the other two coming against John Vanbiesbrouck and Johan Hedberg respectively (both former Flyers).
I could go on and on for days on end about how much I love Simon Gagne, but I think you get the point. Let’s get down to brass tacks here. We’re here to relive Simon Gagne’s finest career moments, not wax poetic about his beautiful accent and those eyes…..what? oh wait….sorry. Damn it. Here’s moment #1.
Here we see arguably my favorite Simon Gagne moment from my favorite Flyers team ever. The 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 6 at home vs. Tampa Bay. You know what happened.
Next up is one of my personal favorites. Gagne killing the Devils, in OT no less after being denied multiple times by Brodeur in that game an on that very shift. Few things in life are sweeter than beating the Devils in overtime.
Most of you would probably say that this is their favorite Gagne moment. The moment that Broad Street fought back. Gagne returning from injury to force a game 5 against Boston while facing elimination. And then there was hope…
This one needs no explanation. Capping off a 3-0 game 7 comeback in a series they came back from 3-0, Simon was there to save the day again. Clutch.
Here is one of the most bittersweet moments for many Flyers fans, much like Brind’Amour before him and Timonen soon after him, we were all so happy for Simon, but it hurt seeing him do it in a different jersey.
The prodigal son returned. He may not have been the same but I don’t recall any other goal being this sentimental for any player, at least not in my life as a fan. The goal may have ultimately not meant much for that season or that game, but it meant the world to Simon and to me personally, seeing one of my all time favorites scoring in orange once more.
I also have a few bonus videos for you guys. Simon was always naturally funny. Maybe it’s his accent, or just the matter of fact way he says things, or maybe he’s just awkward in front of the camera. Either way, these are pure gold.
I hope everyone enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. I would hope that one day in the near future we’ll see number 12 hanging from the rafters. Even if we do not, there will only ever be one #12 for me, Simon Gagne.
(All stats courtesy of HockeyReference.com)