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May 24, 2010

Simon Gagne


Q. Mike Richards said there was some debate on the ice whether to touch the trophy or not; which side did you fall on?
SIMON GAGNE: Actually you saw Richie touch the trophy, and I was for it. I saw Pittsburgh two years ago not doing it, and they did grab the trophy last year. Oh, who knows, you know. I think you deserve to celebrate a little bit tonight for what we accomplished. It's a big thing.
It was fun. We had the trophy in the locker room, and a lot of people had a chance to see it. I think it's the right thing to do.

Q. When Lavi first came here, did you ever think that you'd be at this point when he first came?
SIMON GAGNE: Maybe not. If we go back in time, no. Five, six months ago, Lavi came here. No, I don't think we're in the Playoffs at that point. Even when Lavi came in two or three weeks after, I think we were in like 14th place in the Conference.
But at the same time, I think he came here with the right attitude. He changed the system that we played before, and that was a system that took us a while to get used to it, takes a lot of good conditioning to play that. I have to say after a month, we started a different team; and right now I think we're right on it, and that's why we're here.
The system that he brought in made the guys believe in it. That helped us win some hockey games.

Q. Simon, other than just being a resilient team, why do you think it is that no matter what happens to you guys adversity-wise, you come out on the other side stronger, pretty much every time?
SIMON GAGNE: Just the group we have here. You know, we have a great mix, great veterans, I think. Great young guys that are, in my mind, veterans. No, it's a great mix of guys that we have here.
Like you said, we had a tough year, coaching change, have to get used to a new system, after that, some injuries that we had. So we had to battle through that. Even in the Playoffs we lost some key guys and were able to get through it.
Even now the last game of the season we had to go and shootout to be able to be in the Playoffs. That just shows the character that we have and the group that we have here. Every time you hear teams winning, that's why you're here, and we've got something special going on right now.

Q. Do you think you need to get the younger guys to understand this could be a one-time opportunity?
SIMON GAGNE: We did mention it a little bit when we lost the game in Montreal. Now I've been here for 11 years, and I've been there like four times and I never got a chance to win the Conference Final.
Even my first year, I was 19 years old, and we were up 3-1 against Jersey and we lost. In my mind, I said oh, wow, it's my first year, you know. I'm sure I'm going to have another shot to go to the Finals. It was only my first year, but I never got close to it. Maybe one time against Tampa Bay when we lost Game 7.
In my mind now, it might be my last chance to be there. And even the young guys, you never know. So we have to grab that chance, and we have to put everything out there. You know, you never know. It might be the last chance even for a young guys like JVR, he's only like 21, so we have to take our chance.

Q. When you consider how close you guys came previous times and how much you've struggled through injuries and everything you've been through, to have this run and to have this Championship for you, personally, where does this rank?
SIMON GAGNE: Right up there. Even like winning a gold medal for my country was something big. But you battle with those guys for 82 games, you go through some adversity, injuries, you go some up-and-downs during the season; you remember your meetings with the coaches when things aren't going right, and you battle through it and stuff like that.
Even in the Playoffs it's a battle from the first round to where we are right now, and the toughest ones still have to come; that's right up there. Hopefully, that's not the end of it.

Q. Can you talk about the play of your captain tonight? It seemed from the first goal to the last goal, he wasn't going to let you lose tonight?
SIMON GAGNE: Yeah, every time we have a big game like that, Richie is always coming strong. I knew if I had to put my money on one player tonight that was going to be the leader out there and lead us to the win, I'll put easily my money on Richie.
No, getting that goal and shorthanded, diving almost -- he could have hurt himself. Actually the other guy hurt himself with the goalie. Battled right through the end, and nice pass on Cartsie's goal, the first one. Even on the last one on the empty net, he worked very hard to keep that puck alive for Cartsie. All the credit for Richie tonight. He led us to the win.

Q. I know you want to enjoy this right now. Talk about what lies ahead. Getting three shutouts against a team like Chicago is going to be a little easier said than done, I think.
SIMON GAGNE: It's going to be hard. They've got a lot of skills offensively. They've got a good team. They beat some really good teams on their side. Now we know it's going to be tough. They deserve to be there. We deserve to be there. It's going to be a good battle, that's for sure.

Q. How much energy do you guys draw from the fans in Philadelphia?
SIMON GAGNE: A lot. I have to say, especially tonight. You go with a lot of emotion sometimes. We were up 3-1, but when they scored that goal, I thought we got a little bit nervous when it was 3-2.
But because of the crowd, we kind of get the energy from it, and we were able to just give everything out there and not make Montreal score that third goal.
It's amazing. Everybody's talking about the Montreal fans and stuff like that, but it's not even close to what we have here. The Flyers' fans are the best. They were unbelievable. From the start of the game to the last second of this game was great. We're going to need them for the Final, that's for sure.
But sometimes you get a little tired out there, but because of the crowd sometimes, you just get a little bit of a boost, and helps you to do a little more stuff than when you're on the road sometimes.

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