So, the coach was fired, the “sniper” was shipped out but the Habs still have their 7.5 million dollar man! Yes, the Montreal Canadiens are still paying the very productive Scott Gomez a staggering 7.5 million a year to not score...Things are going so well in Montreal in fact that fans have lost all hope to be able to celebrate for truly positive reasons this year and are looking for anything else to celebrate...The result? A brand new website counting down the days until it has been one year since Gomez scored a goal. As I am writing this, there are 7 days left until he reaches this “milestone”...
While the aim of the website was to have a bit of fun and give the fans something to celebrate, it is not a welcomed initiative by all. A journalist from La Presse even went as far as saying that this would be news around the league and that it would make it even more difficult to attract players to Montreal. Personally, I disagree. If a player doesn't want to come to Montreal because the fans will celebrate a scoreless year, I say it's not the type of player they want. If you are a “star” player and a “point getter” you shouldn't even be worried about going without a goal for a year. This treatment wouldn't be given to someone who is meant to be a 4th line grinder of a defenseman, if you're a top tier player, you are meant to deliver top tier results and you cannot expect the faithful fans not to bat an eyelid when you fail to deliver for a whole year.
If you visit the website (http://www.celebrations-gomez.com/en/), you will see that there is of course the countdown to the milestone on it, but you can also download everything you need to celebrate the event. Party hats, Pinatas, Pin the tail on the donkey game, you name it, it's there. Thus far, there are 2000 people following the group on Facebook. It will be interesting to see whether some of those people are in attendance at the Bell Centre on February 5th and wearing party hats while waving banners. If such is the case, one can wonder how the other fans will react or even how the Montreal Canadiens organization will react...Should Gomez fail to fin the back of the net until then (and let's face it, it's likely that he will) it will be interesting to see how the day unfolds. While everyone will be getting ready to celebrate the champions of Super Bowl 46, some people will have an extra special tailgate.
I will admit that this initiative has made the Canadiens' games interesting to watch once again. While the team has been struggling all year and putting out shameful displays more often then not, now there is a least this “Will he? Won't he?” to every game...I've not experienced this since the Ross and Rachel “Will they? Won't they?” story lines in Friends and it is definitely a breath of fresh air. I know, not everyone agrees with the spirit of the celebration but I don't think you can find another city in the league where fans are passionate enough about their team to find themselves a way to stay on board and talk about it every day regardless of the poor results. If anything, this goes to show that the province of Quebec is as hockey mad as it ever was through the good times and the bad times.
The way I see it, that's the message that will come across should this make the news around the league and I sure hope that Gary Bettman will be watching and taking note that Quebec cares about hockey. In fact, this initiative was born in Quebec City so, if the league wants to get fans off of Scott Gomez's back, it could always give Quebec a team back...I seem to recall that there is a team which is constantly losing money and on the brink of being sold while a new arena will shortly be built right here in Quebec...What do you say Mr. Bettman?