Habs Send Gomez Home
As the NHL lockout comes to an end, players around the league are preparing to hit the ice with their teams in the coming days. For at least one player, though, the end of the lockout means the end of his season.
While Montreal Canadiens players took to the ice for the opening day of training camp in Brossard today, Scott Gomez was noticeably absent. Without any word of an injury, the suspicion was that his future with the club was uncertain. Soon after, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin announced that Gomez would be sent home, and will not be playing with the team – or any team for that matter – this season.
The move to get rid of Gomez is one that has been long-awaited by Habs fans, but maybe not quite in this fashion. However, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, teams can no longer dump players such as Gomez in the minors to relieve themselves of the cap hit. With a plan to use one of two compliance buyouts on Gomez next summer, the Canadiens don't want to risk him being hurt, as injured players can not be bought out.
Despite spending the next few months at home, Gomez will still count against the Habs' salary cap, so while some fans may be glad to see him off the ice, his $7.3 Million cap hit remains until the off-season.
The decision to drop Gomez from the lineup may come as a bit of a surprise after Bergevin was quoted last week as saying that Scott “is a part of the team and will be at camp.” In his press conference today, Bergevin said that the decision was made because it was in the best interest of the Canadiens to have that cap space freed up next year, and noted that as an organization, the Habs have to plan for the future.
Gomez has been the target of much criticism over the past couple of years in Montreal, as the team's highest paid player has registered just 49 points in 118 games in the last two seasons.
Some other interesting notes from the first day of camp are that the club's third overall pick Alex Galchenyuk will be playing wing on the second line with Lars Eller and Brian Gionta. Tomas Plekanec did not participate today, and is considered to be day-to-day. Head Coach Michel Therrien said that he will try Galchenyuk at center later in camp to see how he performs in that position. With Gomez' roster spot opening up after today's events, it will be interesting to see if Galchenyuk can crack the lineup.
- David Collins
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