Gomez remains with Sharks, but still without a deal

Gomez remains with Sharks, but still without a deal
January 20, 2013, 1:30 pm
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Scott Gomez is in Calgary with the Sharks, but he has yet to sign a deal with the team.

CALGARY – Unrestricted free agent forward Scott Gomez flew on the Sharks’ team charter to Calgary, took part in the morning skate with the scratches, and hopped on the team bus from the hotel to the Saddledome as San Jose gets set to open its season against the Flames on Sunday.

But, he’s not a Shark just yet. The evaluation on him is ongoing, head coach Todd McLellan said before the game.

“Having Scott around and having him make his decision on whether he likes our environment and what we’re doing, and whether we like him in our environment, I think is a great opportunity for us over the next couple days,” McLellan said. “If it works, we’ll be really happy to have him, and if it doesn’t, I’m sure he’ll find another home and be excited about playing in the league.”

Gomez said: “It’s good to be around hockey. I think it’s just a situation where they are checking me out and [I’m] checking this organization out. I guess we’ll go from there.”

The 33-year-old was bought out by the Montreal Canadiens with two years and more than $14 million remaining on his contract. Gomez is moving on with his career, and profusely thanked his agent, Ian Pulver, for being proactive in finding him a potential new home.

“That’s a chapter that’s gone. I wasn’t raised that way to sit around and cry,” Gomez said of being exiled from Montreal. “That’s life. Trust me, I’ve been around the game a long, long time. I’ve seen worse. That’s in the past. I learned from too many great guys, and like I said, I’ve gone through this before.

“No one’s going to feel sorry, you don’t feel sorry, and it’s business. But, you bet, if anything…you should be pissed off. If you’re not, there’s definitely something wrong with you.”

Gomez sited Sharks associate coach Larry Robinson, a former head and assistant coach of the New Jersey Devils where he spent his first seven seasons, as part of the reason he’s exploring his options with San Jose.

“It’s first and foremost a great organization. I think the chances of them winning is right there. It’s a great group of guys,” Gomez said.

“You never hear anything bad about the organization.”

Gomez, an Anchorage, Alaska native, played 11 games with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL in order to stay in shape for the shortened season. It appears the Sharks want to make sure he’s in good condition physically, as remaining healthy will be paramount in a 48-game campaign.

“You learn as you get older. There was why I went back and played,” he said. “I always believed that hockey was going to be back, and I wanted to be ready.”

Sharks captain Joe Thornton said of Gomez: “I think he would be a good fit. He’s won a couple of Stanley Cups with New Jersey. He’s had some tough luck there in Montreal, and if he signs here, I think he’s going to be a great addition.”

A decision on Gomez, who has played in 902 career NHL games and won the Calder Trophy in 2000, is expected shortly.

“When it’s all said and done, we’ll each do our homework and come to a conclusion here soon,” McLellan said.

Gomez said: “You never know what it’s like to start a relationship. I think we all know that. It could take longer than others, and it could go right away. That’s why life is so special and beautiful.”