Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ryan Malone gives No. 12 to Simon Gagne gratis
Nice little story coming out of precamp workouts was how Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Simon Gagne got his No. 12 jersey number from Ryan Malone. It seems Malone just gave it away and, apparently, expected nothing in return. Malone will wear No. 6.
"It showed the class of the guy," Gagne said Monday after his first skate with his new teammates after 10 seasons with the Flyers. "I heard a lot of great things about him, but by giving No. 12 away that just showed the person he is. I'll try to buy him dinner on the road this year or something like that. It's a number I've been wearing since I was a kid, so it means a lot to me."
The story, as Gagne told it, unfolded like this:
After finding out Malone was wearing No. 12, Gagne said he would wear 21, which he wore at the 2002 and '06 Olympics in deference to Jarome Iginla. But after Malone spoke to head equipment manager Ray Thill, Gagne got the news Malone was willing to give up the number.
"I said we're happy to have him on the team," Malone said. "He's done some great things with that number and it was time for a change for myself, I thought, so it was no problem at all. I just said with open arms, 'Come join the team.' "
"I called him back and asked him what he wanted for it and he said nothing," said Gagne, acquired in the trade for defenseman Matt Walker. "I never met the guy. I never met anyone here. It showed the welcome."
Speaking of Malone, who had 21 goals last season, but just two in his last 31 games and zero in his last 19, he said he heard the rumors over the summer that he might be traded to the Maple Leafs for defenseman Tomas Kaberle but never was asked to waive his no-trade clause.
"It's all part of the business," Malone said. "We're going to have a good team here. This is where I want to be."