MONTREAL – Time is quickly running out on Scott Gomez if he wants to avoid going a whole year without scoring.
It was against the New York Rangers last Feb. 5 when the Montreal Canadiens’ top earner, at US$7.3 million a year, last found the net.
To ”celebrate” Sunday’s potential one-year anniversary, three Quebecers have set up a website—http://celebrations-gomez.com/—that features a countdown clock, a massive candle in the shape of the number 1 and a picture of Gomez.
They are inviting Canadiens fans to dress up in party hats and fancy costumes for Sunday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
There’s also a Facebook page that was created a few weeks ago. It has 3,700 members.
Gomez’s drought covers 57 games, including seven in the playoffs last season.
But the much-maligned forward does have one final chance to score before the Jets game because the Canadiens entertain the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
”It’s going to be a party, whatever happens,” Pierre-Luc Paquin, one of the three organizers, told The Canadian Press.
”We’ll have a good reason (to celebrate) if he scores Saturday. And if he doesn’t, we’ll highlight the one-year anniversary.
”We’re hoping he scores on Sunday. We don’t want to have to write on the site: ‘See you next year.”’
Paquin says the initiative is not intended to be mean-spirited.
”People are getting into it just as though the Canadiens were in the playoffs. A lot of people who aren’t really that interested in hockey are checking up after every match to see if Gomez has scored.”
They are also urging fans on Sunday to sing ”Happy Birthday, Scotty” at the 11:11 mark of each period. (Gomez wears No. 11).
”We want this to be festive,” Paquin said. ”We’re being satirical but we don’t want to be disrespectful. We want fans to have fun and not to launch into personal attacks or be struck by collective despair.”
Paquin and his two colleagues are from the Quebec City region but are Canadiens fans.
”I used to be a Nordiques fan before they left in 1995. But I got over their departure and now I support the only team we have in Quebec.
”But if the Nordiques returned, I might switch allegiance pretty quickly. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it happens this year.”