Simon Gagne knocked out of game with apparent head injury

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Any player down on the ice and motionless is something no one wants to see. It’s particularly terrifying when it’s a player with a history of concussions.

But it happened early in Game 1 on Friday night. About 13 minutes in with the Lightning possessing in the puck in the Capitals’ defensive zone, Scott Hannan hit Tampa Bay left wing Simon Gagne into the board with a clean check.

But on the way down, Gagne’s head hit the ice, and it looked like the veteran was out cold. He did not show a lot of movement as he remained on the ice for a few minutes. A stretcher was brought out but fortunately didn’t have to be used.

After a few minutes, Gagne got to his feet with some assistance and was helped off the ice and down the tunnel.

“He was in the locker room with the doctors, alert and talking with them,” Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said.

A team spokesman said during the second period that Gagne would not return. He is set to be re-evaluated Saturday.

It’s an especially scary situation for Gagne, who has lost dozens of games in his career to concussions. At one time when he was with the Flyers it was believed he suffered three different such injuries in a span of five months.

“It’s a concern, for sure,” Yzerman said. “A real concern.”

During the first intermission Yzerman said Gagne had not yet been diagnosed with a concussion.

The NHL instituted a new head injury protocol late in the regular season requiring any player showing concussion symptoms to spend at least 15 minutes in a designated quiet room. While there was no information immediately available about whether Gagne did so, just what he looked like on the ice and on replays was not a good sign.

Guy Boucher dressed seven defensemen and just 11 forwards, so Gagne’s injury knocked Tampa Bay down to 10.

More information to come as it becomes available.

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