Catch of the day
All too accustomed being under the spotlight in the Big Apple, this two-time Stanley Cup champ isn’t about to start getting nervous now.
“I like pressure. Even though my experiences with the Devils and Rangers weren’t exactly the same, I think I know what to expect,” said Gomez, via conference call from Kenai, Alaska. “It’s always special to come play in Montreal. Fans here really know their hockey. They will always be the first to tell if you played well or bad. I’m really honored to be able to now wear this jersey. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like.”
Traded for the first time of his nine-year career and having spent seven years in New Jersey before inking a seven-year deal with the Rangers as a free agent in 2007, Gomez had heard about a possible deal being in the works.
“I was at a softball game last night and someone told me that I was going to be traded to the Canadiens,” revealed Gomez. “I was still kind of surprised today when it finally happened, but it’s part of the business. Alex Mogilny always told me to be ready because one of these days I was going to be traded. It stings a little, but ending up in the Mecca of hockey, how can I not be excited?”
Coming off 58-point campaign, his lowest total in five years, Gomez is dying to for a fresh start with his new team.
“I was very disappointed, even embarrassed about this past season,” admitted Gomez, who still led all Rangers in points in 2008-09. “The ultimate goal is always to win the Stanley Cup. I really think I’ll fit in here.”
Even though Habs fans have seen their share of him over the years with Gomez having played exclusively in the Eastern Conference, the 29-year-old felt the need to let his new fans know what they can expect from him.
“I’m first and foremost a playmaker,” affirmed Gomez. “There’s nothing I like more than to feather a nice pass to a teammate he only has to redirect the puck into the net. I hope to make my teammates better. There’s nothing that gives me more satisfaction than that.”
Let that be a warning to the Canadiens to keep their sticks on the ice come the fall, the puck will soon be on its way.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com
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