ATLANTA – NHL general managers aren’t the only ones who sweat it out on trade deadline day.
Having been traded to the Canadiens two summers ago, Scott Gomez
knows how it feels to get the call to pack up and move to a new NHL home. While the 11-year veteran had a little more time to make the transition in the offseason rather than midseason, he still has plenty of experience when it comes to dealing with the stress of deadline day.
“I think since my rookie year my name has always popped up in rumors. There was one time I got nervous when my roommate Jay Pandolfo and I heard we were getting traded for Rob Blake,” recalled the former New Jersey Devil. “Rumors are always going to start and if you buy into that, you’re only hurting yourself and your team.
“It’s part of the business,” he added. “I’ve learned that from Day 1. I’ve seen some weird trades go down at weird times. Some of the young guys in here, you can tell when their names pop up it can bug them, but you just have to grab them and talk to them because we’ve all gone through it.”
Now that he and his teammates have managed to make it through the trade deadline intact, the 31-year-old is looking forward to working towards a third Stanley Cup with his locked-in lineup.
“We can get better which has been our goal over the last few games. You’ve got to like the group you’ve got and we do. That’s all that matters,” confirmed the Anchorage, AK native. “We all get along here, it’s a great group of guys and there’s a good vibe in the room. It’s a tight-knit group and no one wanted to leave. We’re happy that everyone’s still here and this is it. We want to get as high as we can and make a good playoff run.”
Gomez’s longtime Devils teammate and current Habs captain Brian Gionta
couldn’t agree more.
“All the guys are comfortable with the team we have here. When we play the way we’re capable of playing, we’re tough to beat,” warned Gionta. “We just have to be more consistent. We’re a close group here and it’s nice that no one is leaving. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s a tense day, but I thought everyone handled it pretty well.”
Armed with a no trade clause, Gionta was likely one of the Habs breathing the easiest on Monday afternoon – unlike his 22-year-old linemate, Max Pacioretty
“I don’t really talk to enough people who are in on the rumors, but you hear certain things on TSN that might happen. Most of the things don’t end up happening, but it’s a bit of a relief,” admitted the 6-foot-3 power forward. “The first thing everyone did when we got off the ice was ask if we got anyone or lost anyone, and it’s a good feeling knowing that no one is going away for the rest of the year.”
With his roster now set and no new faces joining his club for Tuesday night’s game in Atlanta, Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin should have no problem making sure everyone is on the same page against the Thrashers.
“I’m comfortable with the team we have. When you look at the additions we’ve made over the last few weeks like [Brent] Sopel, [Paul] Mara and [James] Wisniewski, those are guys who can really fill a void for us,” offered the former Panthers GM. “We’ve had to deal with injuries all year, but we also can’t forget that we’ve added guys like Pacioretty and [David] Desharnais to the lineup through call-ups this season. Those are good young players who have been big contributors to the team night after night.
“We like the players we have here,” concluded the Habs bench boss. “Now it’s up to us to work hard to make sure we go deep into the playoffs.” Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
See also:Thanks, but no thanks Habs acquire Drew MacIntyre Habs This Week - Feb. 28, 2011
Reaction from the players: Gionta