Veteran center Scott Gomez continues to wait for a contract from the New Jersey Devils 14 games into the season.
Gomez, 34, was invited to the team’s camp on a professional tryout, but not signed to a contract once the season began. He was asked to hang around New Jersey, practice and wait for an opportunity to arise.
“I think it would be difficult if I was younger. I knew what the deal was,” Gomez told The Star-Ledger. “It seems like it’s been a lifetime, but it’s only been (14) games.
“I’ve never been in this situation, but I’ve talked to other guys who have been in this situation, like (Jay Pandolfo), and the main thing is that you feel part of it. I don’t feel I’m in the way. I knew coming into it I had to have patience. Being around the guys has always been the most fun part. The coaches and everybody have made me feel part of it.”
Despite injuries and a three-game losing skid, Gomez has yet to be called upon by GM Lou Lamoriello. The former Devils first-rounder isn’t putting a time frame on how long he’s willing to wait around.
“When you start thinking that way, that’s when negative stuff comes into your mind,” Gomez said. “I’m not setting a deadline because of the respect I have for the organization and Lou. It’s more coming day to day and getting my work in to be ready.
“I’ve been around the league long enough. Crazy things can happen. We all know what can happen. The most important thing is staying in shape. You can’t let other things get in your head.”
Gomez remains hopeful and has not begun thinking about life after hockey.
“I’ll cross that bridge when it comes,” he said. “It’s been one day at a time. Get my work in, stay fresh, stay hungry.”