October 23, 2011
Gagner 'happy' with first game back
By Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - How’s the ankle? And how’s the wing?
Those were the two obvious questions for Sam Gagner upon returning to the lineup Saturday after a high ankle sprain kept him out of the first six games of the season and a crowd at centre shifted him over to right wing.
“I felt pretty good, it held up throughout the whole game,” said Gagner. “A few minor tweaks here and there but I’m happy with the way things went for the first game.
“I’m not sure how much I played (12 minutes), but it felt like 30. I haven’t played in a league game in about six months, and pre-season in a month.”
The move to the right side with Eric Belanger and Magnus Paajarvi took some adjusting, too.
“You have to adapt mentally,” said Gagner, a centre by trade. “You have to really focus on moving your feet and I found at times that I was caught kind of standing still, but that’s part of the process. Next game I think I’ll be more comfortable and continue to grow there.”
Whether the position change is long term or short term remains to be seen, but Gagner says he’s fine with wherever they want him.
“I think we have a great group here and I think we’re going to win here a lot sooner than people expect. That’s something that as a player you want to be a part of, and you want to be a big part of. No matter where the coaches think I’m best suited to be a big part of the winning core, that’s fine by me.”