Game Over for Gomez

Scott Gomez

Written By: Iain Carnegie, BBBR

So the chips begin to fall.

There was an obvious hole in the line-up of players that hit the ice in Brossard Sunday morning as the Montreal Canadiens training camp got underway. There was actually two gaping holes.

Habs fans and media alike were probably not happy that All-Star defenseman PK Subban was absent from the first official practice of the upcoming shortened season, but he wasn’t the only person who wasn’t wearing a CH jersey or skates.

Also missing – forward Scott Gomez.

Apparently, sometime close to 07h30 this morning, new head coach Michel Therrien and new GM Marc Bergevin were taking care of business under the newly constructed CBA by relieving Scott Gomez of his duties as a Center with the club. The news was also relayed to team Captain Brian Gionta who apparently was instrumental in passing the information on to the rest of the team.

Although not pleasant news for Gionta, who has had deep and long lasting roots with Gomez over the years, this should really not come as a shock to fans throughout Quebec, or around the league – or even the players who wear the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge.

The surprise for me came from Bergevin’s comments as to why the decision had come to fruition.

“With everything happening with the CBA being signed and the new rules, looking at all the options, it was clear to us that in dealing with the cap next season, we had to buyout Scott [Gomez’s] contract. The best and safest way for us to do that without him getting injured is to send him home, pay him his salary, and then buyout his contract in the summertime.” ~ Marc Bergevin

I completely agree that the league (and all the teams in it) have new concerns about the lowered Cap numbers for next year, and I also fully believe that this new CBA has given the Canadiens a huge opportunity to rectify a long, slow, bleeding wound that has haunted them since signing Gomez. But to make the following statement seems ludicrous to me.

“It has nothing to do with his game. This was a decision made for the best of the organization. We have to plan not just for one year, but for years to come.” ~ Marc Bergevin

Gomez has gone from being a forward to be reckoned with in 2009/’10, to an injured and non-performing over-expense.

In his inaugural season, Gomez topped the trifecta of players brought on board (Gionta and Cammalleri) during the off-season, with a 59 point season (12G, 47A) during 78 games of play. And he did it all under huge contract numbers. After that season – no complaints.

But things went south in a hurry, and soon the rumblings of the Montreal fan-base and media were heard. I didn’t agree with them in the 2010/’11 season when Gomez managed a mere 38 points (7G, 31A in 80 GP). I thought it was an off year with the potential to an underlying injury.

That all changed when he followed that up with an injury riddled year in 2011/’12, and the only numbers he could put up were 11 points for number 11 – in 38 games (2G, 9A).

So to say that getting rid of a cap hit on your roster of $7.3M has nothing to do with his performance sounds ridiculous to me. Almost as absurd as the rumblings coming out of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization these days in regards to Brian Burke being fired.

Yes – there is no way that the franchise wanted to hold on to such an expensive contract for two more seasons, but it is clearly related to the performance level of the player in question.

I hope nothing but the best for the future for Scott Gomez. I’ve been a fan of his for years, and supported him through many tough days here in Montreal, but at the end of the day, he has become a liability for the team and the franchise. But I don’t like the sugar coating. He is either finished in the league because there is an on-going injury, or he’s lost his touch.

Either way, his lack of performance is the clear reason why he’s being sent home for the shortened season, and being bought out in his final year. If he was an 80 point player – the contract numbers wouldn’t mean a thing and we’d be seeing number eleven on the ice for another two years.

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About Iain Carnegie (@emann_222 on Twitter)

I have followed the Montreal Canadiens for over twenty years, even while living in the heart of Toronto. I spent 5 years in the mecca of hockey, moving to the Plateau region of Montreal in the summer of 2009, I've been writing extensively on the Habs franchise at Bleed Blue Blanc Rouge BBBR has now moved to it's new home here at WordPress, , where content continues to matter.
This entry was posted in 2012-2013 NHL Season, Announcements, Eastern Conference, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, NHL Cap, Northeastern Division and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Game Over for Gomez

  1. kyleroussel says:

    We agree 100%. Bergevin slipped up in his presser. The buyout was not strictly business, but because of his production. If he was able to maintain 50pts per season, he wouldn’t be in this situation today. Whether he’s washed up or careless, Gomez’ time in Montreal had gone on for far too long.

  2. I agree with you both but, come on, let’s be realistic. What else is Bergevin going to say during his press conference? That “Gomez sucks and we don’t want him here anymore?” Yeah, that would go over really well… haha! He has to sugar coat it, somewhat, for propriety with the media/fans and with Gomez himself. Plus, he knows that everyone is smart enough to read between the lines so he doesn’t have to spell it out himself.

    • I agree Rich … but it could have been a simpler conversation. He could have just stated that it was a cap hit decision and not even mentioned that it had nothing to do with his game. Not to mention that he completely contradicted himself throughout the Presser (make sure you got to cowhideandrubber.com to read Kyles inout on this).

      I have other thoughts on Gomez – but I’ll save that for when I post my conversation with Abe Hefter from CJAD in the next couple of days 🙂

  3. mbouf says:

    I agree with Rich and that’s the exactly what I was going to reply with…Everyone in the NHL knows what Gomez’s stats look like, Bergevin didn’t need to point out all his flaws in a presser. You don’t burn bridges.

    I have mixed feelings. When it comes to the business side by all means YES get rid of that gigantic contract, especially when you consider his performance.

    I feel if Gomez’s contract was much MUCH smaller, no one would be ridiculing him as much. He was a clutch player in the post season (and since we didn’t make the post season last year that wasn’t seen).

    But for the money he’s worth it was absolutely 100% the right move by the Habs GM.

    • True enough – I don’t disagree, but I thought that Bergevin shouldn’t have contradicted himself so many times throughout the presser.

      It’s true that he didn’t need to run down the stat sheet pointing out everything wrong with Gomez’, but to make such a blatantly false comment that it has nothing to do with his game was rather silly.

      I don’t blame the whole fiasco on Gomez either (as you know from all my Gomez supportive posts over the past two years), because had he been signed for the right dollars, he might still be a worthy Canadien.

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