Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE
No matter how overpaid Gomez is, he was clearly still an NHL quality player last year for the Canadiens. If his cap hit will count no matter what, why not use him? We think we have an idea.
The following post is of a speculative nature:
Here's Marc Bergevin's press conference today from Brossard:
We've all been talking about it all morning. Why now?
When Marc Bergevin was hired as general manager, he said Scott Gomez would have chance to earn a spot on the Montreal Canadiens in 2012-13. He could have said no comment, or they didn't have set plans.
When Michel Therrien was hired as head coach, he said Scott Gomez could earn a spot in training camp is he played well, but there would be no free rides. He could have said less.
Then after a protracted lockout where Gomez was playing for the Alaska Aces of the ECHL and playing pretty well at that, he flew in for Canadiens training camp and took a medical examination.
The next day Marc Bergevin held a press conference saying Gomez would not be needed in Montreal. That the team would take the $6,457,143 cap hit that comes with officially sending him to the AHL, but he wouldn't be with the Bulldogs either.
The reason given was that the team plans to buy him out in the summer of 2013, which was obvious, but they don't want to risk Gomez being injured while playing. You can't buy out players suffering from injuries.
A lot of people bought this instantly, but that's not good enough of an excuse. Players get injured all the time, and if it's serious then they can be put on long term injury relief (LTIR). While on LTIR, Gomez wouldn't be hurting the Habs, so what's the problem?
You're not going to sit out a player just because you fear they might possibly be injured. Especially when the player you're bringing in to replace them, even though they're cheaper, isn't nearly as good of a player. No offense to Ryan White, Petteri Nokelainen, or Gabriel Dumont but Gomez is still better at that point.
The press conference wasn't planned. This situation wasn't planned. There were rumours that Gomez was sitting out games in the AHL for a reason, and that was his groin was bugging him. If you'll recall, Gomez had troubles with his groin last season too. In fact it was the first season in his career that he's missed a significant number of games.
If in the Habs medicals, they discovered that while Gomez was medically cleared to play, the wear and tear on his body would make it likely that he would injure himself again, they were left with no other option than to send him home.
The trouble with groin injuries is you're rarely going to be out a year with a groin injury. You're going to be day to day or week to week, and in that situation you get no cap relief.
This is the only plausible explanation for this situation in my mind.
I don't worship, slobbering at the alter of Marc Bergevin like a lot of the media and fans here in Montreal, but I don't think he's a liar, and I don't think he has such little class that he would invite Gomez to camp knowing full well that he never intended to keep him.
In the end, Gomez gets a nice prorated $5.5M severance plus nearly $3M in buyout cash next year for essentially being fired. That's not too bad of a deal, even if he'd rather be playing hockey.