Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gomez is not the fall guy

By that I don't mean Scott Gomez is not to blame for his lack of production so far this season, I'm just saying that the fall season doesn't appear to be his favourite time of year.

Jacques Martin said after practice in Brossard today that the Habs need to get more out of Gomez, and though he said it doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of goals and assists, putting some points on the board definitely wouldn't hurt.

But while this four-game pointless streak is somewhat disconcerting for the team's highest-paid player and top-line centre, I was wondering if having dead periods like this was a regular occurrence for Gomez over his career.

What I found was pretty particular, because in each of the previous five seasons Gomez has hit a bit of a rough patch sometime in October or November, but otherwise he's been a pretty remarkably consistent player. This is the 11th time in nine and a quarter seasons that Gomez has had a pointless streak as long as four games, and it's his first in two years. Of those 11 streaks, eight of them have come in and around this time of year.

Here's the evidence:

2008-09 - Manages only one goal and two assists over a 10-game span from Oct 30-Nov 30, but he never went more than three games without a point.
2007-08 - Had a 5-game pointless streak from Oct 20-29, the last time he's gone as many as four games without a point
2006-07 - Had a goal and an assist over seven games from Oct 21-Nov 25
2005-06 - This was his career year of 33 goals and 51 assists, but he still had a 5-game pointless streak from Oct 29-Nov 8, and a 4-game streak from Nov 30-Dec 7
2003-04 - Went six games without a point from Nov 21-Dec 6
2002-03 - This year, Gomez's lull came a little later than usual as he had two 4-game pointless streaks sandwiched around a one-goal game, from Dec 14-21 and Dec 27-Jan 1
2001-02 - Had a career regular season high 7-game pointless streak from Nov 17-30, and that followed a 5-game string from Oct 17-27. This was the worst statistical season of his career with 48 points in 76 games.
2000-01 - Had a 5-game streak from Oct 14-25 and a 4-game swing from Nov 4-11. Went a career-worst eight games without a point in that year's playoffs.
1999-2000 - His rookie year was probably his most consistent as he never went more than three games without a point. Not only did he have no autumn slump this year, he got a point in 14 of 15 games between Oct 27 and Dec 1.

While none of this makes Gomez's lack of production of late any easier to digest for the average fan, I would have to imagine it is somewhat comforting to know that this has happened before and it did not necessarily mean Gomez had a horrible year. In fact, it's happened in three of the four years Gomez hit the 70-point mark.

The question is, when will Gomez come out of it? It had better be pretty soon, because without Brian Gionta the Canadiens scoring woes show no signs of ending in the near future. Gomez was on a line with Mike Cammalleri and Travis Moen at practice today, while Tomas Plekanec was playing with Andrei Kostitsyn and Max Pacioretty.

I still feel Martin should try playing Gomez with Kostitsyn and give Plekanec a shot at playing an entire game with Cammalleri on his wing. Kostitsyn has only played a shade over 36 minutes this season with Gomez, and it might be time to give this combination more of a look, especially now that Gomez's natural born winger is on the shelf.

On a completely unrelated note, my wife was watching an improv show on TVA called Dieu Merci! tonight and as I glanced at the TV I could have sworn I recognized a guy dressed as a biker dude in one of the sketches. Sure enough it was the Golden Boy, Guillaume Latendresse, and I must say he wasn't horrible. You can check his highlights from the episode here, and be sure to click on the “Défi de groupe” link at the bottom of the page. At about the 1:45 mark, the Golden Boy locks lips with Quebec actor and TV/Radio host Patrice L'Écuyer.

I have no idea how he will avoid getting razzed about that one in the Habs room. The best way may be to score a goal or two.


Anonymous said...

Time to trade Gomez for another disappointment, he goes by the name of Lecavalier and take a chance by trading a draft pick for Angelo Esposito. Get a little strength up the centre.

Sounds like the Blackhawks trade is imminent, needs to be done before they announce the signing of their Big 3.

Anonymous said...

Im not worried about Gomez. Im worried that Gainey knew (as we all did) EXACTLY wat he was getting in Gomez (an untradeable overpaid asset in a salary-cap league), but got him ANYWAY. I actually really like Gomez as a player and interviewee!

BTW just found a cool new habs site:

nk said...

thanks arp, i do find those stats reassuring. i'm not worried about gomez either. i'm actually more worried about martin's line juggling and the fact that our d can't put a decent game together.

Beeg said...

I believe AK46 has similar numbers - in that most of his production has come in the second half of the season. Must be a secret Kovalev fan. Of course I'm too lazy to look it up... :-)

Arpon Basu said...

I don't think Kostitsyn's sample size is large enough to make that a legitimate trend. He was on fire in the second half in that big season, only because that line came together around XMas. Last year, he was basically invisible all year

V said...

I think Gomez has been OK to good. It's a team game and so many injuries make it hard to assess the team and individuals, including Gomez.

Martin seems to have a lot of confidence in him and puts him out in tough situations.

Thanks for taking a look at Gomez's past performance Arpon. That sort of context always helps.