THE TWO lasting memories of being a Flyer, in Simon Gagne's mind, are pretty fitting ones, mostly because of the way they bookend his significant time in Philadelphia.
The first, he told reporters on a conference call Friday, was his rookie season. The 1999-2000 season, a year after the Flyers selected the Quebec native 22nd overall, saw the Flyers fall one game short of reaching the Stanley Cup Final.
But Gagne scored 20 goals and tallied 28 assists that season, turning 20 in February. He remembers being the young guy on a team with Eric Lindros, John Leclair, Mark Recchi, Eric Desjardins and others.
Nine regular seasons - some with lost time because of the six concussions Gagne suffered in his NHL career - with a combined 239 goals later, he was a crucial part of the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2009-10, his last meaningful season in Philadelphia. His goal in Game 7 in Boston to complete a wild, come-from-behind game and series will forever be a part of Flyers lore.
In 90 career playoff games as a member of the Flyers, Gagne recorded 47 points and scored six game-winning goals.
Tuesday, the Flyers will celebrate the retirement of the 35-year-old winger, who scored 291 goals to go with 310 assists in a 14-season career. They previously honored Kimmo Timonen and Daniel Briere this season.
"I watched those two games and what they did before the game and what to expect and all that," Gagne said. "The Flyers fans always treat their players that helped them to have success really well and honored Kimmo and Danny for the time that they were in Philly. I'm really excited and honored to get the call from Mr. (Ed) Snider, Paul Holmgren, and Ron Hextall to do the same thing with myself, and I'm looking forward to be there next week and not only me, but also my wife and the kids."
Gagne, who won a gold medal with Canada in the 2002 Olympic Games, lives with his wife and three kids in Quebec City. Right now, he said, he's just taking it easy and enjoying his time off while being the "bus driver" to and from school. But in looking for options for the future, he's open to anything. He's open to doing television. And Quebec City being rumored as a potential city for NHL expansion has him excited.
Though Gagne announced his retirement in September, his career was really over last December, when he left the Boston Bruins in Phoenix to be with his father, Pierre, who went on to lose his long battle with liver cancer. He took a long leave of absence and never returned to Boston.
"For whatever reason, I knew it," Gagne said. "I scored a goal that game and I took the puck, brought it back to my dad, and I knew at that time that there was nothing that we could do for him and it was just a question of time. So all that at that time, even if I did decide in September to announce that I was going to retire officially, I knew at that time it was the right timing."
Fittingly, Tuesday's celebration comes the night of a game against the Los Angeles Kings, with whom Gagne won his only Stanley Cup in 2012.