Already A Lightning Rod
It sure didn't take long. An intrasquad scrimmage on the first day after fitness testing was all it took for Scott Gomez to become public enemy #1 among the most reactionary Habs fans. Gomez was supposed to center the top line between Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta on Team B who lost that scrimmage game against Team A, but was held out with a minor 'lower body' injury. He also missed the second scrimmage game for Team B, which they lost against Team C.
Within minutes of the announcement that he wouldn't play in the scrimmage, accusations of poor conditioning were thrown at Gomez from every angle. Never mind that Gomez took less time off this summer than he ever has in his career, and that he reportedly paid out of his own pocket for the Canadiens strength and conditioning coach to come to Alaska to work with him all summer.
On The Team 990 this morning on Tony Marinaro's show, a fan called in and suggested that Jacques Martin was making a mistake in not forcing Gomez into every single preseason game as some sort of punishment for last year, starting with tonight's game against the Dallas Stars. Tony quickly shot that down, but what is that supposed to accomplish? Playing Gomez 6 times in the next 7 nights is supposed to heal his injury and make him want to compete harder? Somehow I doubt it.
Is the well so poisoned with Gomez that any mild misfortune that befalls him or the team can be blamed on him now? Perhaps it's time time to retire Arpon Basu's sarcastically self stated "proudest achievement", the twitter hashtag #BlameSubban and replace it with #BlameGomez.
Unfortunately for the section of fans and media dedicated to hating Gomez and all things associated with him, he's not going anywhere for awhile. Marc Antoine Godin of La Presse reported today that Lars Eller is unlikely to start the season due to his shoulder injury, so Gomez will be relied upon even harder to start the year.