SUN Hockey Pool

Gagner good to go?

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

The fog lifted enough for Sam Gagner to start practising again - call it a Gag skate - and if things remain clear the sophomore forward could be ready to go as early as tonight.

"It was just headaches from time to time, lightheadedness," said Gagner, who missed Edmonton's two-game road trip through Los Angeles and San Jose after taking a Nicklas Grossman elbow in the head against Dallas.

"I got hit at probably the 10-minute mark and looked up and there's two minutes left. It didn't really register. It felt like I was in a fog a little bit. Every time I got the puck I wasn't sure with it and the game was going by pretty fast."

But a few days off seemed to have helped.

"Today felt good and hopefully Thursday I'll feel good again and we'll take it from there."

Gagner had a concussion in junior, but doesn't think the latest injury compares to that one.

"This hit didn't seem like it was much," he said.

"The hit in junior you could tell right away that something was wrong. But having gone through something like this before makes it a little easier.

"You obviously don't want to make it a recurring habit, but I know what I'm feeling and I know when I'm ready to play."

They definitely don't want to rush things because that's the quickest way to turn a short-term situation into a long-term situation.

"Both myself and the medical team want to be smart with it.

"If you go back too early from something like this you can be out for longer than you'd expect. I want to be smart with it."

Some players get spooked after a concussion and shy away from traffic, but Gagner says he wants to make a point of putting the head troubles out of his mind.

"You can't change the way you play because of injuries you've had in the past," he said.

"This was a pretty mild concussion. I haven't even been out for a full week yet. I'm not looking at this as a huge deal.

"I want to get it out of my head. That's another thing that happens: You start to think, am I having symptoms? And that's when you start having headaches.

"You just keep it out of your mind.

"I just have to go out and play. Obviously if I'm feeling anything I'll take it slow. I want to get past this and hopefully move forward."

Head coach Craig MacTavish had Gagner skating on the fourth line with Gilbert Brule and Liam Reddox, electing to leave what has been a pretty good second line (Rob Schremp, Andrew Cogliano and Marc Pouliot) intact.

Gagner, with five points in 22 games, might have to work his way back into the top six.

"We can throw a solid four lines on the ice in any game," said Gagner.

"We have a lot of depth in this room. If I'm put in that role it's just a matter of working hard and trying to get myself back up. That (second) line has been playing pretty well."


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