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Simon Gagne takes leave of absence from Bruins

Simon Gagne (center) left the Bruins to be with his father, who has cancer.Getty Images

Simon Gagne has left the Bruins to be with his family after his father received a diagnosis of incurable liver cancer.

“I have taken a personal leave of absence from the Boston Bruins in order to return home to Quebec to be with my father, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer,” Gagne said in a statement. “The doctors — who have been great throughout this whole process — unfortunately informed us that his cancer is not curable.

“I greatly appreciate the support and understanding that the Bruins organization and my teammates have given to me and my family since I let them know the news and I look forward to rejoining them when the time is appropriate.”


Gagne’s absence is indefinite, according to Bruins coach Claude Julien, and his name is currently not listed on the team roster. He has not been with the club for the past two days after he returned with the team from the Bruins’ West Coast road trip.

“I can speak first-hand, it’s difficult when you’re thousands of miles away and your family, especially your parents, are going through something difficult,” said Bruins president Cam Neely. “It’s hard to keep focus on what you have to do. So it’s very important for the organization to not only understand it but respect it and give a player the opportunity to do what they need to do.”

Neely said the Bruins do not yet know at this point how long Gagne might be absent from the team.

“It’s really going to boil down to where he feels he needs to be,” Neely said.

Gagne has played in 23 games this season after coming in on a one-year deal. He has three goals and one assist while playing mainly on the fourth line.

He did not play in 2013-14, and signed with the Bruins a week into the season after spending training camp with Boston on a tryout agreement.


With the uncertainty about whether David Krejci will return Thursday against the Blackhawks, the Bruins recalled Craig Cunningham from Providence.

Krejci uncertain

While it appears likely that Zdeno Chara will return Thursday, Krejci’s situation is less clear. Krejci seemed optimistic after taking part in a full practice Wednesday, but had not been cleared by doctors at that time.

“Till I’m told that he can play, I can’t count on him,” Julien said.

Krejci had returned to practice with the team Tuesday, but did not participate in the entire session. He did skate in the entire session Wednesday, though he practiced in only about half of the power-play drills with his unit. He skated with Milan Lucic and Loui Eriksson in line rushes.

The center has played just 11 games this season as he has battled through multiple stints out of the lineup. He has not played since Nov. 18, having missed the last eight games after coming back for one game against the Blues. He had missed the four games before that.

Asked if he was worried about coming back into the lineup, then getting reinjured, Krejci said, “100 percent.

“It’s happened to me twice. It’s in the back of my head. It’s not something I would love to think about, but at the end of the day when the decision comes that I can play, then obviously I get a little nervous.


“That’s going to happen if I am ready or close to be ready. I’ll be nervous. Until I have that first game under my belt and I’m ready for the next one.”

That could come Thursday. Or it might be delayed beyond that.

“I feel like once I’m back and once I get through the first game and I feel good, then no setbacks, nothing I have to deal with,” Krejci said. “I don’t feel like this is some injury that it’s going to bother me the whole year. I think that when it’s done, it’s done, and we can move on.”

Ground broken

The Bruins and Boston Landing broke ground on the team’s new practice facility Wednesday. The facility, to be called Warrior Ice Arena and located in Allston, is scheduled to open in 2016, and will replace Ristuccia Arena. “It means a lot to the organization and to the players,” Bruins principal Charlie Jacobs said. “It means a lot to have a shorter commute. It makes life a lot easier. But then to think about courting potential free agents and to be able to take them not only to the Garden and show them the work we’ve done there, but to say, hey listen, come check out our practice facility, that’s a selling point for a lot of clubs. It should be one for Boston and it will be very soon.” The Bruins will remain at Ristuccia for this season and next.

Rising cap

The salary cap is now projected to rise to approximately $73 million next season, though there could be fluctuations based on the Canadian dollar. “It’s better than $69 [million],” Neely said. “When you’re a team that spends up to the cap, when you are spending to the cap and you are into [long-term injury exception money], there’s a lot of discussions and conversations and pencils and erasers that have to be in play.”  He added, “It gives us a pretty good idea where we’re going to end up, but if we’re going to err, we should err on the lower side.” . . . The Bruins assigned David Warsofsky to Providence . . . Daniel Paille and Carl Soderberg both returned to practice after missing it Tuesday. Paille said the illness was not the mumps, the disease that has affected multiple teams throughout the NHL.


Follow Amalie Benjamin on Twitter at @amaliebenjamin.