Gagne took a leave of absence from the team on Dec. 10 to be with his ill father, who recently died after a battle with liver cancer. According to the Bruins, Gagne's status is now a "suspended player" in order for the team to maintain a full roster.
“At this time Simon feels that he has to be home with his family and he has the complete support of the Boston Bruins organization with this decision,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a statement. “Given Simon’s decision not to return to the team, we have to change his status to maintain a full roster. I spoke to Simon about this, and he assured me that we have his full support with this status change.”
Gagne, 34, signed with the Bruins at the beginning of the season. He had four points (three goals, one assist) in 23 games.
“The last month has been extremely difficult for me with my father being sick and his passing,” Gagne said. “To play in the NHL you have to be 100% mentally, emotionally and physically committed to the game. At this time I know that I cannot be close to those levels. The Bruins organization and my teammates have been great to my family and I during this time. When I decided not to return this season, I spoke to Peter and assured him that I did not want the organization or my teammates to be impacted. Together we made the decision that my status would be changed so that the team could have a full active roster. In addition, I would like to thank the fans and the NHL family for all of the support that they have given my family and I during this difficult time – it has truly meant a lot.”
The Bruins will host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Boston is 22-15-6, eighth in the Eastern Conference with 50 points entering Monday.
- Mike Fiammetta