• AUDIO: Marc Bergevin news briefing
BREAKING: Scott Gomez sent home, where he will remain for the season. He’ll be fully paid but if Canadiens want to buy him out at season’s end, which they will, they can’t afford the risk of him being injured.
Pat Hickey quick hit:
Scott Gomez’s days as a Canadien are over.
General manager Marc Bergevin announced Sunday morning in Brossard on Day One of the team’s training camp that Gomez was being sent home and would be bought out in the summer.
“We felt this was the best decision for the good of the team,” said Bergevin. He added that the Canadiens need to clear out cap space going forward and the deal will remove Gomez’s $7.357 million from the books for the 2013-14 season. The Canadiens will have to pay Gomez $5.5 million not to play this season and then will pay him two-thirds of the $4.5 million he’s scheduled to make next season.
Bergevin said the Canadiens couldn’t afford to have Gomez hurt because the new collective bargaining agreement doesn’t allow teams to buy out injured players.
Bergevin said the decision on Gomez was made after he saw the final draft of the CBA at 11 p.m. Saturday and he met with Gomez at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. Bergevin said Gomez was “professional” when he was given the news.
Gomez was considered a prime candidate for one of two compliance buyouts permitted in the new CBA but as recently as last week Bergevin said Gomez was part of the team.
Early results from an online hockeyinsideout.com poll question, suggest fans believe Bergevin made the the right call with Gomez. More than 85 per cent of the nearly 250 people who had cast their vote by mid-day Sunday supported the general manager’s decision.
The decision opens a spot for a forward on the Canadiens’ roster.
Bergevin also said contract negotiations continue on a new contract for defenceman P.K. Subban, who remains in Toronto. Bergevin travelled to Toronto Saturday for face-to-face talks with Subban and agent Don Meehan.
“We exchanged proposals and counter-proposals but there was no agreement,” said Bergevin. He said he had no plans to trade the restricted free agent.
The Canadiens opened camp in Brossard at 10 a.m. Sunday with 23 players. Missing were Tomas Plekanec and Mike Commodore (day-to-day) and Petteri Nokelainen, who is a few weeks away from a return.
With the 119-day National Hockey League lockout officially over, the Canadiens kick off their training camp at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.
Twenty-seven players are taking part in the camp at the team’s practice facility in Brossard, on Montreal’s South Shore.
Missing from the list of 27 players is Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, who is a restricted free agent and remains unsigned. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said last Monday that it was his intention to sign Subban before camp. Talks between the team and Subban’s agent Don Meehan have been ongoing. Subban led the team in ice time last season.
The Hamilton Bulldogs players invited to camp are forwards Brendan Gallagher and Gabriel Dumont and defencemen Jarred Tinordi and Mike Commodore. Alex Galchenyuk, 18, the Canadiens first-round draft pick last June, is the youngest prospect at camp.
The Canadiens released their schedule today. They’ll face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday at the Bell Centre to open the season. They’ll end the 48-game season playing the Leafs on April 27 in Toronto. You can see the schedule by clicking here:
Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien will be available to the media later today.