Gagne return to be a game-time decision

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers left wing Simon Gagne will be a game-time decision Friday when the Flyers host the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series at the Wachovia Center (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS).

Gagne, despite being an observer at Friday's morning skate said he would make a decision following pre-game warmups.

Gagne, who had two screws surgically implanted into the big toe on his right foot April 23, skated with the team for the first time Thursday. Following that practice, Gagne received an MRI on his foot that revealed no further damage. Gagne suffered his injury while blocking a shot in Game 4 of the Flyers' opening-round series victory against the New Jersey Devils.

When asked if he intended to play, Gagne, whose team trails the Bruins 3-0 in the series, remained non-committal.

"It's hard to say right now, so it's going to be a game-time decision. I'm going to see how I feel in warm-ups and from there we'll decide." -- Simon Gagne

Gagne did admit that even if he is strong enough to play, his minutes might be reduced.

"I don't know (how many minutes I'll play); that's a good question," he said. "I did talk to (Flyers coach) Peter (Laviolette), and if I play, we'll determine what type of minutes I'm going to play in. I'm not sure if I'll play on the penalty kill. That might be where my minutes go down, but five-on-five, we'll see how I handle the skating and go from there."

Laviolette said Gagne probably would get the same treatment Jeff Carter received when he returned after missing eight games at the end of the regular season due to a fractured left foot. Carter saw 16:16 of ice time in his return to the lineup April 9, and then 22:46 in the season-finale against the New York Rangers two days later.

"I'll try to keep it simple by not trying to do too much; it's been a while since I played a game and the game is fast out there," Gagne said. "It's physical and I think I'm going to try and find myself out there -- find out where I'm at and from there I'll try to get better and better as the game goes on."

"When Carter came back from the same circumstances, he didn't kill penalties, either, because of the situation he was in, so when Simon comes back to the lineup -- whenever that is -- we'll probably steer clear of those situations, as well," Laviolette said. "When it comes to minutes when players come back and are available, it depends on how they look and feel in the game."

Gagne averaged 18:11 of ice time in four playoff games this season, including 3:42 on the power play and 2:51 while shorthanded.

"I'll talk to our trainer (Jim McCrossin) after warm-ups and let him know how I feel," Gagne said. "When I talked to the doctor (Thursday), he told me what I'd have to look for to be able to play. We'll decide if it's good to go."

Laviolette knows the team doesn't expect Gagne to be the savior if he does make a return.

"When a player returns, there has to be more than just the bang you might get in the first minute," he said. "There's so much work that has to be done through the course of the game. It's important that they're contributing factors. You might get a quick boost, but then there's a lot of work that has to be done.

"Boston won't put a lot of stock into a player when he might return in the lineup for us. They're going to have to play their game and do their work and we have to be ready to match that."

Still, the addition of Gagne, who has 2 assists and a plus-1 rating in the playoffs, certainly would be a welcomed sight for a team on the brink of elimination.

"Sometimes when you get new guys back from the injury list, it could be a boost for a team," Gagne said. "Hopefully I could bring that (Friday), if I play. To be honest, I was looking more at (returning) Game 5 or at the end of the series rather than tonight, but I started to feel pretty good before Game 3, so it's not like my decision was made after our loss. We're against the wall, and we're not allowed to lose any more games, so it's right there and if I feel good enough to play, I'll be there."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale