The Tampa Bay Lightning got some good news on Monday, when left wing Simon Gagne skated with the team for the first time since his April 29 head injury and declared himself ready for Game 1 against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference final that seems more and more likely will begin Saturday.
"I think," Gagne said, "we'll be good to go in Game 1."
Gagne wore a red no-contact jersey during Monday's practice, but said it was a precaution. Team rules, he said, demand players wear red in their first practice after an injury.
Gagne was hurt when he was checked and his head slammed into the ice in Game 1 of the East semifinal against the Capitals and he was momentarily knocked unconscious. Gagne's concussion history is well known, but there was no indication he sustained that kind of injury, and both he and coach Guy Boucher said Gagne could have come back during the Capitals series.
But with the team ahead 2-0 and then 3-0 on its way to a four-game sweep, the decision was made to be cautious. And if the series with Boston does not begin until Saturday, Gagne will have 15 days off.
"It's a perfect situation for myself," Gagne said. "Let's wait and see what's going to happen."
"I think it was important we took our time with it," Boucher said.
The news is less encouraging on defenseman Pavel Kubina, who apparently has had concussion-like symptoms since his head hit the glass after an elbow to the back of the head from Washington's Jason Chimera in Game 1.
In other injury updates, defenseman Randy Jones and right wing Steve Downie, both with lingering high ankle sprains, were on the ice Monday after being given an extra day off. ... Wing Ryan Malone left practice early. But Boucher said he is fine. Malone has periodically left practice early to protect the groin injury he sustained during the regular season.