For all the jokes made at his deteriorating game over the last few seasons, Gomez still brings something to the table.
The two-time Stanley Cup winner played in his 144th career playoff game on Thursday against Los Angeles — notching a pair of assists, his 100th and 101st postseason points — and has been a steadying influence since drawing in for the final two games of the Vancouver series.
All things considered, this has been a good year for Gomez.
He escaped the stigma of his unwieldy contract and proved he could be an effective performer on a playoff squad, finishing fifth on the Sharks in assists (13) during the regular season.
He’s also embraced the veteran leadership role and impressed his coach at the same time.
“He’s trying to do things the right way,” McLellan explained. “He’s trying to get guys to keep their shifts short, that we have a high guy, that we don’t turn pucks over.
“I didn’t know we were getting that in Scott Gomez, but we’re getting it, and he’s been a big influence that way.”
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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