When Bob Gainey traded for Scott Gomez back in June 2009, everyone knew that the Canadiens were getting a player who would never live up to the contract Glen Sather and the New York Rangers had given him. But Gainey also knew that in Gomez, he was getting one of the best playmakers since 2000 (4th in the NHL to be exact) and the Canadiens, in need of a major leadership shake-up after the Centennial fiasco, were gaining a leader.
Few however, including Gainey, could have predicted that Gomez’ game would regress to the point where it’s at today. After all, his worst season before joining the Canadiens was back in 2002-2003 when he collected 13 goals and 55 points, but was +17. This season, the veteran center counts a mediocre 7 goals and only 36 points, while sitting at a dismal team worst -16. The closest on the team sit at -7 (Gill and Subban) and his counterpart center Tomas Plekanec is +7.
While he went through a good stretch in January, there are simply not enough games remaining in the season for Gomez to turn it around. However, if the Canadiens are going to make the playoffs and choose who they’ll be facing, their number 11 will have to pick up his socks, roll up his sleeves and follow the lead of his linemate, good friend and team captain Brian Gionta, by providing his best effort. As well as David Desharnais and Lars Eller have progressed, they simply can’t carry the load the way a seasoned veteran like Gomez can do.
Here’s hoping for a good finish to this season and for the playoffs.