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Tampa Bay Lightning LW Simon Gagne wants to play Game 3; D Pavel Kubina still mum, likely worse

As expected, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be without left wing Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina for Game 2 of Tampa Bay's Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Capitals. But Gagne said on Sunday he feels pretty good and hopes to play in Game 3 Tuesday at the St. Pete Times Forum. Kubina, on the other hand, was not made available to the media Sunday, leading to the presumption he is in worse shape than Gagne.

For Game 2, forward Blair Jones will replace Gagne and Randy Jones, who has not played since Match 7 because of a high ankle sprain, will replace Kubina.

Both Gagne and Kubina took severe blows to the head in Friday's Game 1. Gagne's head bounced off the ice in the first period after he was checked by Scott Hannan. Gagne's body was parallel to the ice when Hannan gave him an extra shove in the shoulder, which pointed Gagne's head downward. Kubina's head hit the end glass in the second period when he was checked and took an elbow to the back of the head from Jason Chimera. Chimera was called for roughing. There was no supplemental discipline by the league.

Gagne was in fine spirits Sunday. He said he never lost consciousness, as had been presumed. He said he recalls the entire incident and does not blame Hannan for the clean hit. He characterized himself as day-to-day.

On Hannan:

"I know Scott. I played with him in the world championship. Like I said, nothing against him, he hit me clean, I got off balance and I was not able to protect myself when I fell on the ice. It's part of hockey. Stuff like that is going to happen. What he did, just to come give me a little tap on the pads to see I was okay, I know hes’ feeling bad about it, but like I said it was not his fault, it's something that is part of hockey."

On his conversation on the ice with head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan:

"You're a little shaky, that’s for sure. You just knocked your head on the ice. Took a couple seconds to get all that together. First thing he asked me where I was, and the good thing, all the questions he asked me was right. I remember the score, I explained to him what happened too on the hit. That was a good sign."

On trying to call his wife from trainers' room:

"At first, they asked me for the number, they tried to call her. I'm sure she had some phone calls from my mom and dad and stuff, so it was a busy line at that time. After that, like I said, I think it's tougher for them than on yourself. Sometimes they're watching what's going on, not knowing whats going on. She said I was not moving on the ice. She started to be scared about it. You think about the worst. It was hard to see, she was crying on the phone and stuff like that. But you try to give her some good stuff that now it's okay and it was part of the game."

On remembering his wife's phone number:
"Actually it was good. The doctor was really surprised I gave the number right away. Said, ‘Wow, that’s a good test, a good first test.' Like I said, it was good. I think I'm lucky that it was not worse than that."
Other stuff from the morning: Coach Guy Boucher made it clear that all things being equal, he will start goalie Dwayne Roloson in back-to-back games, Tuesday and Wednesday in Games 3 and 4. "It's not that I don't trust Smitty," Boucher said of backup Mike Smith. "But when you're on a roll as a No. 1 goaltender in the playoffs, whether you have a good game or a bad game, I have a tendency not to break that. I don't know what's going to happen in the next games, but I'm counting on Roli playing well. He'll rest when the season is over." ... If you haven't noticed, wing Marty St. Louis has zero points and is minus=3 his past three games. Boucher said it was because St. Louis is such a good leader, he is now concentrating more on the defensive side of his game. But St. Louis admitted, "I'm not at the top of my game." The problem, he said, is he is not jumping into the play as quickly. Part of that is because he is trying to be responsible defensively. But he also is a bit out of rhythm. " Have I been as good offensively? No," St. Louis said. "But I've tried to play the game inside the game, and you can’t just try to score goals all the time. Sometimes when you push to hard to score goals you open yourself up. I know I have to be better offensively but it's a hard thing to do consistently in the playoffs. When I go into a game I try to play a complete game. I'm not just trying to get my cookies. The great thing about this team is we have different guys stepping up. I know to get back on my game I have to push the pace." ...  Blair Jones will get into his first NHL playoff game. "I played in playoff games in Norfolk before," Jones said of the Lightning's AHL affiliate. "It's not the same scale as far as huge crowds you have here, but I like playing in the playoffs. It's exciting. It's what you play for all season. I'll just follow the guys' leads and work hard and take it from there." Why Jones instead of Mattias Ritola or Dana Tyrell. Well, Tyrell, as we have said, has a left foot injury sustained when hit by a puck during a practice in Pittsburgh. And Boucher said Jones is a bigger body than Ritola which is what the team needs against a bigger team like the Capitals.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:15am]


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