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Scott Gomez changes mind, signs with ECHL’s Alaska Aces with intention to play

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

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Like many of his NHLPA brethren, Scott Gomez wasn't taking this lockout off to sit around his house and wait for a new CBA. Instead, he signed with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL in September to practice but not play with the team he played for during the 2004-05 lockout, a season where he earned league scoring and MVP honors.

A month and a half later Gomez has apparently changed his mind. On Wednesday, the Aces signed the 33-year Montreal Canadiens forward to a standard player contract.

From the Aces:

The Alaska Aces have signed NHL star forward Scott Gomez to a standard player contract, Head Coach Rob Murray announced on Wednesday.  Gomez attended training camp this season with the Aces, but has not played in the regular season.  He will make his season debut next week when the Aces return home to host the Colorado Eagles on November 14, 16, and 17.

He'll join fellow NHLers Brandon Dubinsky, Joey Crabb and Nate Thompson on the roster where he'll likely enjoy some offensive success like those three are.

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ECHL rules state only a certain number of "veterans" are allowed on team rosters per game. Gomez's addition will mean another veteran body for the team to rotate.

From Doyle Woody of the Anchorage Daily News:

One complication with Gomez's signing is it gives the Aces seven players considered "veterans'' in the ECHL. ECHL rules permit a team to play a maximum of four veterans in any game, so the addition of Gomez means the Aces must continue to sit veteran players each game.

Only six of the Aces' seven veterans are currently available -- captain Steve Ward, a defenseman, is out with a broken leg that required surgery. The other veterans are Gomez, Dubinsky, Thompson, Crabb, winger Matt Robinson and defenseman Sean Curry.

With the combination of recent CBA talks lasting hours and the signings of NHLers to European and minor-league teams of late -- like Max Talbot to Finland on Wednesday -- is there optimism to be had here that a deal is getting closer and that these guys are getting into game shape?

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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