Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 01/18/08 at 06:15 PM ET
Today, Scott Gomez of the NY Rangers participated in an NHL conference call. He currently leads the Rangers in scoring with 42 points, and will be attending the All Star Game in Atlanta next weekend.
Here is a complete transcript from the Q & A session.
Q. Was there an adjustment for you playing and living in Manhattan, and if so, what was the adjustment and are you past that?
SCOTT GOMEZ: Well, I think, first, I wasn’t in my place. So it was a little—I’m not using it as an excuse, but it was a little different, just kind of being kind of in the hotel or whatever you want to call it.
That, and then, yeah, being a new guy on the team, it’s been a while getting to know guys, getting to know what it’s like. But I think one thing about the Rangers is, since day one, they make you feel like you’ve been a Ranger your whole career. And that was the easy part. And I think once I got comfortable off the ice, it definitely helped on the ice.
Q. How closely do you follow your old team?
SCOTT GOMEZ: They’re doing great. They’re in the same division. Still got, keep up with how the guys are doing and stuff. But I have other things to worry about.
And it’s not something I go wake up and go see how they’re doing. I’m glad to see they’re doing well and I’m glad to see certain guys that are doing well.
Q. I have a question for you. A lot of players go to New York and play the Rangers it’s either a hit or a miss. They’re either really good or it’s just too much of an adjustment. The fact that it was just in Jersey, obviously was that a big adjustment for you, coming from Jersey?
SCOTT GOMEZ: I think—I mean it was an adjustment to the fact that I did my homework coming in. It was the place I wanted to go to. Obviously coming in with Chris Drury, it helped. I mean you knew what to expect, being across the river, you knew that the media hype, you’re more—let’s face it, it’s New York City.
Yeah, the pressure maybe was a little different. But also playing for the Devils with Mr. Lamoriello, there was a lot of pressure also day in, day out. So I think I kind of, like I said, I kind of did my homework and I knew what to expect. And now hopefully things will just get a little bit better because we definitely have the team to do it.
Q. What about playing with Jagr, how has that been when you’ve played with Jagr?
SCOTT GOMEZ: It’s been great. It’s one of those things, we started off in the beginning, just you couldn’t have put two guys together because we were so off page or off mark.
But I’ve gone through that before with Mogilny and others. So we separated for a while and then we got put back together. And I think the key to that has been Marty Straka, the way he plays and what he brings to the line, I think that’s helped me and Jagr get back on track a little bit.
Q. What’s it like playing with a player like Jagre he’s played a long time and he has his own mind as to how he likes to play the game, what’s that like, trying to get into his head how he likes to play?
SCOTT GOMEZ: He’s one of the special ones. He’s one of the best ever, probably. So you really don’t try to change it. You try to kind of—I think what I was doing earlier on in the year was trying to get him the puck too much. Guys on the other teams knew what I was trying to do, give him the puck.
Where if I played my game a little bit, I think that’s how our game has meshed together. I don’t want to change Jaromir Jagr, he has success. He’s still one of the best players in the league. And when he’s on, I mean it’s fun to watch night in, night out.
Q. Are you gearing up for this Super Skills competition, and I guess they made a few tweaks in it with the judging on the break-aways, do you know what you’re going to do, how you’re going to go about this?
SCOTT GOMEZ: No, I haven’t really given it much thought. I’m just sure next week I’m sure, if I think about it more. Hopefully there’s a couple of passing events, I’ll be off to the side just passing the puck. I’d rather do that.
Q. I realize, I know you weren’t wearing the Ranger uniform when Brian Leech was with the team. But can you talk a little bit about your times going up to him, the few times you were up against him and the feeling in and around the locker room regarding Leach’s big night next Thursday?
SCOTT GOMEZ: I think, first of all, Brian Leech was, growing up in the U.S., he was one of the fairer players ever. And all the Canadian guys always had Coffey, Bork, all those guys. We have players like Leech. With Brian Leech, playing against him, just every night when you go against him you knew you had to be at your best because he’s one of those players who can control a game. I think that’s the ultimate compliment in our league.
If you’re one of those guys who can control a hockey game, I think Brian Leech, at his best, was like that. I think what most people don’t realize is I was fortunate enough to meet him at the World Cup. How great he is on the ice, he’s a million times better off the ice.
He’s a great guy. A great human being. His family. It’s one of the coolest things to meet one of your idols then meet him off the ice and he’s 10 times the person you think he was.
Q. In the recent Sports Illustrated piece on DiPietro Brodeur and Lundqvist, Brodeur makes an interesting statement that I’d like you to comment on because you know these guys. Talking about Lundqvist, and Brodeur says the way Lundqvist plays the game is not something I like too much. And then he says Lundqvist is weird. What do you make of that?
SCOTT GOMEZ: What’s the last part?
Q. He said Lundqvist is weird. And it’s very hard—you know Lundqvist. You know Brodeur, what do you think Marty meant?
SCOTT GOMEZ: Well, first of all, maybe you don’t know if he was misquoted or we don’t know that. Playing with both of them, they’re both great guys. I think Marty, you know what you’re going to get. But Henrik Lundqvist, what a great competitor, what a great guy. Off the ice he takes time for his teammates. He’s always—he’s a goaltender, aren’t they all weird, be a goaltender, you gotta be a little off.
But I think Marty was probably misquoted. I don’t know if a guy just comes out and says that. So I mean you’d have to hear Marty’s take again because just to call someone weird when you don’t know them, I don’t think Marty would do that.
Q. One other thing you said before there was a lot of pressure playing for Lou Lamoriello. Are you saying that as a positive or a negative or what did you mean?
SCOTT GOMEZ: Positive. I mean, coming to New York is obviously a lot of pressure. But I think a lot of people wouldn’t—because of Jersey and maybe it wasn’t the biggest thing, I think most—yeah, it was pressure. It was pressure to perform.
It was pressure around your teammates, night in, night out, when you’ve got Scotty looking you down and Dano, yeah you want to perform and there was pressure. So coming over here, I kind of was used to that. I was built for that. Not built for it, but there’s a lot more pressure than people think in Jersey.
It’s good pressure. It’s just like you coming to talk every night. There’s pressure for you to perform like the maven that we all know and love.
Q. How do you view the game against Boston this weekend?
SCOTT GOMEZ: Where is it viewing?
Q. The game, the games against Boston, shown at least in Sweden in most of hockey Europe this weekend. So I wonder what do you think about the game against Boston?
SCOTT GOMEZ: Now that we know it’s in Europe we’re all probably going to go definitely a million times harder. It’s going to be a good series.
When Boston/New York get together, it’s always nice. And at the same time, I mean we need the points. We have to start building off of it. So they’re going—they’re in the same position we are right now. So we definitely need these. We definitely need these points and it’s going to be like a playoff game.
Q. How much has Lundqvist played lately?
SCOTT GOMEZ: He’s going good. When he’s on top of his game, he carries this team. And it’s one of those things. We need to play better in front of him. Hank’s—he’s one of the best goaltenders in the league. But I think he’s not getting the credit because we definitely haven’t been playing that well in front of him.
So he’s doing fine. And we need him to continue.
Q. Is he as good as he was at the beginning of the season?
SCOTT GOMEZ: Well, like I said, I think the team as a team we kind of got on a bad patch there where we relied on Hank and it wasn’t fair to him.
Yeah, he’s focused and last couple of games he’s made the key saves that we need. And we just need that from him every night, that he brings that every night.
Q. Can you compare him to Brodeur?
SCOTT GOMEZ: They’re both great goaltenders. Marty is a little different. He’s been around longer. He deserves it. But at the same time, to go into a hockey game knowing you have Henrik Lundqvist in your net, it provides an advantage most nights, if not every night.
Q. I just want to know if you can talk about the player Shawn Avery what he brings to the Rangers’s lineup. Seems like you guys are two entirely different teams depending on whether or not he’s in the lineup. What exactly is it when he is in the lineup sparks you guys to be a better team?
SCOTT GOMEZ: I think when he’s in the lineup, for one, if we’re on the road, everyone in the building hates him. The other team probably dislikes him. So we’ve got to be a little more on our toes.
No, he’s a great teammate. He brings it every night. He expects guys to do the same. When he’s in the lineup he has spark. He is the guy we feed off of. And I know playing against him you hate the guy. But definitely when you’re a teammate of his, he’s one of those guys, he’s a beauty. He’s one of those guys you need in the locker room and he’s a great teammate.
Q. What does he do off the ice in the locker room to go ahead and also bring something to the team?
SCOTT GOMEZ: Well, he’s got alligator arms, for one. I don’t know if he can ever reach his wallet. (Laughter) he’s a fashion consultant. I mean a guy can’t walk by without him critiquing your outfit.
You hear about every crappy album that’s out, the kind of music he listens to. He keeps it interesting. He’s definitely fun to be around. You gotta be on your toes when you’re around him because he has a comment for everything.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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