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'Lucky' Simon Gagne sits but could play soon for Tampa Bay Lightning

Simon Gagne, left, and Pavel Kubina missed Game 2 with head injuries.

Simon Gagne, left, and Pavel Kubina missed Game 2 with head injuries.

WASHINGTON — Why were doctors optimistic Simon Gagne was not seriously hurt after his head slammed into the ice during Friday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals?

He remembered wife Karine's phone number.

"The doctor was really surprised I gave the number right away," Gagne said. "He said, 'Wow, that's a good test, a good first test.' "

Gagne did not play in Sunday's Game 2. And though the Lightning left wing acknowledged, "I'm lucky it was not worse," he said he never lost consciousness, recalls the entire incident, feels pretty good — all things considered — and hopes to play Tuesday in Game 3.

"The way I feel right now, it's positive," Gagne said. "I'm day to day. We'll see how it goes."

Things are not as optimistic for D Pavel Kubina, who was knocked out of Game 1 when his head hit the glass after Washington LW Jason Chimera elbowed him in the back of the head.

Kubina was not available for comment, leading to speculation his condition is more serious.

Gagne, who has two goals and seven points in eight playoff games, was hurt 7:22 into the first period when checked by Capitals D Scott Hannan. Gagne went airborne, and Hannan shoved Gagne's shoulder, forcing him headfirst into the ice.

"It looks scary when you watch it on video," Gagne said. "I'm sure it looked a little tougher to see on TV. (Karine) said I was not moving on the ice. She started to be scared about it. She was crying on the phone. You try to give her some good stuff that it's okay."

Gagne, who has a history of concussions, said he was alert when head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan got to him.

"You're a little shaky, for sure," Gagne said. "You just knocked your head on the ice. It took a couple of seconds to get all that together, but the first thing he asked me was where I was. The good thing was all the questions he asked me. I remembered the score. I explained to him what happened on the hit."

Gagne said he hasn't spoken to Hannan, who with his stick tapped Gagne on the pads as Gagne was helped off the ice.

"He hit me clean," Gagne said. "I got off balance, and I was not able to protect myself when I fell to the ice. I know he's feeling bad about it, but it was not his fault. It's something that is part of hockey."

STICK ISSUES: Before Alex Ovechkin scored with 1:07 left in the third period to tie the score 2-2, Lightning D Victor Hedman seemed to botch a clearing attempt.

But Hedman, a left-handed shot, was using a righty stick from teammate Adam Hall after Hedman's was knocked from his hands.

In other words, Hedman was shooting forehand with the stick facing backhand.

"A tough play," Hedman said.

Making things worse, Capitals C Jason Arnott got his stick on the puck.

"He would have thrown that out," Boucher said of Hedman, "and they wouldn't have been able to score."

ON CALL: Boucher said he has no plans to rest 41-year-old G Dwayne Roloson in Games 3 or 4 Tuesday and Wednesday.

"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 bad game, I have a tendency not to break that. He can rest when the season is over."

OPTIONS: With Gagne out, F Blair Jones, up and down all season from AHL Norfolk, played his first NHL playoff game. He had three hits in 5:27 of ice time. Mattias Ritola was passed over, Boucher said, because Jones, at 6 feet 2, 216 pounds, is more physical.

ODDS AND ENDS: Going back to their 2003 series, Tampa Bay has won six straight in the playoffs over Washington. … D Mattias Ohlund had a game-high six blocked shots. … D Matt Smaby and F Dana Tyrell (foot) also were scratched.

'Lucky' Simon Gagne sits but could play soon for Tampa Bay Lightning 05/01/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2011 6:59am]
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