During the 2004-05 lockout, Scott Gomez returned home and played for the ECHL's Alaska Aces -- coached by Davis Payne -- while the NHL was busy taking a year off.
As the number of NHLers playing elsewhere continues to grow with the current CBA negotiations still on-going, Gomez has chosen to somewhat join the Aces again, signing a professional tryout agreement with the team on Friday.
The Alaska Aces opened their 2012 training camp on Friday morning, and made a splash with the addition of a trio of hometown, NHL forwards to their training camp roster. Two-time Stanley Cup winner Scott Gomez signed a professional tryout agreement (PTO), Washington Capitals forward Joey Crabb signed a standard player contract, and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Nate Thompson signed a PTO for the 2012-2013 season, Aces Head Coach Rob Murray announce Friday. All three players are originally from Anchorage, and currently under NHL contracts, but are not playing due to the recent NHL lockout.
The PTO allows Gomez and Thompson to practice with the club during the lockout. Gomez told the Anchorage Daily News last week that he doesn't intend to actually play for the Aces, but who knows if a prolonged lockout might change his mind. He hasn't made a decision if he'll go to Europe despite receiving some feelers from teams.
A native of Anchorage, Gomez found plenty of success playing in his home state last time. He led the ECHL in scoring with 13 goals and 86 points in 61 games and was named league MVP. His season ended early when he suffered a broken pelvis after being checked into an open bench door by Ashlee Langdone of the Bakersfield Condors during the ECHL playoffs. When the NHL returned for the 2005-06 season, Gomez had a career best year with 33 goals and 84 points.
After a career worst campaign last season with the Montreal Canadiens where he scored just two goals and 11 points in 38 games, maybe if he ends up signing with the Aces again lightning can strike Gomez twice when the NHL returns?
Stick-tap Renaud Lavoie of RDS
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy