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06-07-2006, 08:40 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Philadelphia
Country: United States
Posts: 7,815
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Originally Posted by mikedifr
This is along the lines of what I was thinking. I feel he is an elite forward in this league, albeit a different type player then an Elias, Kovalchuk, etc. Gagne is not a superstar sniper like these aforementioned players, he is a superstar two way, well rounded player in my mind. Off the top of my head I cant think of another player that has his level of ability on both ends of the ice. (other then Forsberg and Zetterberg in a couple years) If I am missing any, there are only a few. He certainly is top 3-5 in terms of two way player in the league.

I think the problem people have with Gagne is that people complain too much about what he doesnt do (needs to be more "selfish", leadership, etc.) rather then appreciating the great player that he is, typical negadelphia.

Gagne has great hockey sense, knows how to get in to open areas of the ice, takes a lot of shots on goal, is tremendous defensively, works hard on the ice all the time, plays in all situations, PP, PK, even strength, at the end of the game. What people never seem to take into account, and why I think some complain is that he is not the type of player that will skate down the ice, deke around the defense and score a "sportscenter" goal. He is a player that gets himself open and needs a playmaker on his line (i.e. Forsberg, Zhamnov, Recchi, etc). That is not a knock to Gagne, he is what he is. There have been many elite players like this before him. How many goals would Brett Hull have scored without the likes of Adam Oates passing him the puck? Luc Robitaille with Gretzky passing him the puck, etc. LeClair, Cam Neely, I can name many. He scored 33 goals in the "old NHL" when Recchi was still an elite playmaker. The line with them and Primeau just clicked. It was never able to get that chemistry again for whatever reason and then Gagne battled injuries for two years

Trying to say that Hitch ruined him, tried to make him a 3rd liner, etc is complete bull. The team was relying on Recchi, Roenick, LeClair, etc. for the offense. I keep seeing complaints of him playing with Primeau the last couple years. You know what? That was who he worked best with. The centers here at any given point over the last couple years were Primeau, Roenick, Handzus, Zhamnov. Gagne never clicked with Roenick, it was tried numerous times. They are too similar. Handzus was always too slow to play with him in my opinion and he worked great with Zhamnov the short period of time he played with him. You cant just throw pieces together and expect them to work all the time. Hitch did the best with the players he was given.

If by a "selfish" player you are looking for someone to skate all the way down the ice without giving up the puck, making 30 moves and scoring, he is not your guy. If you want a vocal, rah rah kind of guy, he is not your guy. Who knows exactly who has leadership skills in the locker room, we will never know for sure.

If you want one of the top LWs in the game with elite hockey sense, elite defensive skills, elite goal scoring ability when paired with the type of players he needs to play with, then you have your man.

I guess I do feel that he is undercredited in some ways.
Thank you for putting my thoughts into words.

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