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May 15, 2010

Simon Gagne


Q. I think we would classify you as a serious hero. Do you feel different today than you did a month ago as a player? Like you've really stepped up, is what I'm saying?
SIMON GAGNE: Oh, yeah, sure you feel good about yourself when you're able to accomplish something big like that. But most of all, I'm so proud of our team coming back from a 3?0 in the series and being able to do what we did last night. Even today it's tough to believe.
I woke up this morning, it was not a dream. It was true. I was watching it on the TV. You know, reading the paper and stuff like that today, and we did it. It was just hard to believe.
Like when I broke my foot against Jersey, I have to be honest with you guys, I thought I was maybe there for Game 7 if not this round. I had a chance to come back early and being able to play at that level right away was huge for me. But I was just an extra guy there and trying to help the team to win some hockey games.

Q. In the 12 years that you've been here, can you say this is - from training camp until now - the most interesting season? A lot of strange things happened over the years, but the most interesting season?
SIMON GAGNE: Yeah, you're right. All year long, you know, we didn't have a good start. Coaching changed, new system, lots of injuries from early on. Missing some big guys that we count on now. And after the Olympic break, we were not able to win the hockey game. It was like a roller coaster. You go up-and-down all year long. But we find a way to get where we want to be at the end of the season, and that's where we're able to clinch a place in the playoffs at the last minute. Last game took us to a shoot out to have a chance to be here today.
So tough season, but sometimes you have to go through stuff like that to be where we're at. And you learn from it. We all know that we had some injuries in the playoffs and it's hard sometimes, on the team, but maybe because we went through it during the season that we kind of are used to it, you know.

Q. In September no one would have been surprised to see you playing for the Conference Finals. But then, like you said, the way the season ended, at any point through the series was there ever a seed of doubt that you could get to this point or farther?
SIMON GAGNE: You know, it's just like where we were playing our game, we knew that we were a tough team to beat, you know. We know that. We kind of understand the system of Lavi, what he tried to bring here. We knew at that time that if we do it right, we could be a good team and very tough to beat.
But we had some injuries after that. Sometimes it's tough in the season to replace key players. But you know what, it might be the best thing happening to us, you know.
We had to go through those tough times. You feel like the Montreal Canadiens, they went through almost the same season that we did. A lot of key players got hurt. We had to play through injuries all year. Some guys had to step up like we did, and both teams clinched a playoff almost at the last game of the season.
Sometimes if you look at the past, the team that did that had a lot of success because they're already in playoff mode at that time. So, I don't know. I think it was great. Maybe it was a tough season, but we learned a lot from it.

Q. You've been to the Conference Finals a few times in your career. Are you maybe a little more personally motivated at this point because this might be a genuine window of opportunity for you?
SIMON GAGNE: You know what, I'm always going to remember my first year going to the Conference Finals against jersey, be up 3?1, and you're one game away to go to the Stanley Cup Final and as a young age, I was 19, I was saying, wow, this is my first year. I'm right there. I'm sure I'm going to have a chance to do it again like later on.
It only happened like twice after that, and we never got close to where we were in my first year. We didn't lose Game 7 against Tampa Bay, but a couple of years after against Pittsburgh we lost in Game 5. So you never know, it might be my last chance, you know. You never know. I'm 30 years old. You have to take your chance, you know. You have to take the opportunity that we have right now. As a team, we're very confident.

Q. As a team, is there anything you can do to build on some momentum and not get weighed down by the fact that you put so much energy out to win this last series that you don't have anything left to win the next round?
SIMON GAGNE: I think we have to use it. With everything that happened last night, we're happy. We're proud of what we did. But at the same time, after talking about it today, we have to focus on Montreal Canadiens tomorrow at home. That's what we have to do. It might be tough, but we have to do it. You know, it's Game 1 tomorrow. We have to forget about what happened last night. It was great - but now it's time to focus on Game 1.
I think we could use that to our advantage. Be confident and use it in Game 1.

Q. Kind of amazing to think that as a 7 seed you have home ice advantage?
SIMON GAGNE: Yeah, it's hard to believe, but we've got it. It's playoffs. You never know what can happen. You just want to be in those 8 spots, and then after that it's up for grabs. We've seen it in the past and when we get home ice advantage, we have to use it.

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