Scott Gomez is who he is and won't ever make apologies for it.
That's how he's always been and will always be. Even as a rookie walking into an NHL locker room for the first time.
"We had the funniest corner," Gomez said noting his stall mates, Bobby Holik, Randy MacKay, and John Madden. "Our corner was pretty hilarious."
Gomez has a boisterous personality, a little quirky, and just is who he is. He wasn't in his stall all that much, admitting he preferred to hang out with the doctors and trainers, not wanting to be a distraction to the rest of the room.
"I didn't want to be in the room, everyone is so serious," he laughed. "So, I was always, between periods, I was usually gone."
But it was before games where Gomez's corner in the locker room really shined. And it was a real mix bag of personalities that meshed well.
"Before the games, Randy McKay, the way he keeps his knob, his stick was so precise. We'd all just sit there, me, Bobby... later on, it was Turner Stevenson, but [also] John Madden. We all just sit there and it was a cycle. I mean, the way [McKay] taped this stick was so precise, and we just wanted him to mess up because if he messed up a little bit, even an inch, he'd started all over again. We just would die laughing."
You might not be able to imagine someone as serious as Holik getting in on the jokes with Gomez in that corner, but Scott says you couldn't be more wrong.
"I think people get a misconception about Bobby," Gomez shared.
And maybe Bobby had a misconception of those around him. That is until he found himself in this unique corner of the locker room.
"Maybe I kind of opened his eyes to where, you know, Bobby thought he had to be really, really serious," Gomez recalled of a conversation he recently had with Holik. "And, you know, like he'd say Scotty, that's how you mentally prepare for the games. And then he said the best thing about sitting in the corner with a guy like me, a guy like John Madden, and well, Randy was always in a different world, but he realized that you can't judge anyone. Bobby said it to me, He's like, You know, that's one thing I did learn from you guys was, I thought everyone had to be like me before a game."
The truth is, it would be hard to be like Scott Gomez. Or so I learned, through this conversation. No matter how hard anyone could possibly try. That was all revealed when the conversation turned from his stall mates to what it must have been like to have him as a stall mate. He was willing to share those stories, which offered ample insight into what it was like in that unique corner, with that big personality.
"I went through a stage where like, I would just talk the third person. Everything was like 'Hey, guys, you know, Gomers not feeling it tonight', or 'Hey, we need to do a better job getting Gomer the puck,' or 'Gomer is flying tonight,', so it got to the point where like, I couldn't do that around Scotty [Stevens], I would have to do it in our corner."
Gomez made clear that he wasn't sitting anywhere near the captain of the team. But there was one instance where he brought the captain into the fold. A leap of faith, if you will, that his next antic would go over well with the entire group. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, where the reaction could have gone either way.
"One time I was in the room, I was a rookie, and I had just made the team. And I was next to Lyle Odelein and Randy McKay, and I kind of felt comfortable with them. And anyway, they're joking about they're like, yeah, this is gonna be Scotty last year, he's gonna retire. They were joking around, and I said to them, I said "he can't retire," and they kind of both looked at me.
"And I'm like 'I'm not ready to be the captain!' And they started laughing. They said it to the whole room and Scotty kind of gave me a little smirk. And I'm like, I was, I was scared… I thought I was just sitting in front of them like joking around like, and then but everyone just started laughing. They got my personality pretty quick."
Stay tuned for our next Stall Mates article to hear more from inside the locker room with Scott Gomez Part II.