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When Gov. Sarah Palin joined the Republican ticket as John McCain's vice presidential pick, Scott Gomez of the New York Rangers was bumped down a notch on the list of the most famous living Alaskans. (He's no Curt Schilling, but he's gotta be more popular than Jewel in 2008, right?)

At a press event recently, Gomez was asked about Barack Obama's infamous "lipstick on a pig" comment, which caused a whirlwind of controversy before the U.S. financial system started coming apart at the seams and people suddenly stopped caring about made-up controversies for a moment. Anyhoo, from the NY Daily News, here's Gomer on his home state's potential veep:

So what does Gomez think about Obama's controversial quote? The 28-year-old center from Anchorage likens politics to a good old-fashioned hockey brawl. "It's politics, man - throw the gloves off," said Gomez, who joined four of his teammates at the Garden Friday to unveil artists' renderings of the new Rangers locker room and fitness center that are part of a planned $500 million renovation of the Garden. "You can't take it personal. We're Alaskans ... we don't let things bother us. I'm sure (Palin) could handle it.

"I've met her once at an event couple of years ago," Gomez added. "It doesn't matter if you're voting for her or not. If you're Alaskan, you have to be proud."

And hey, at the very least, she's putting more money in Tina Fey's pocket, right?

Gomez was attending the unveiling of a model for a renovated Madison Square Garden; one that The Sports Hernia said resembled the "left Styrofoam support for world's largest DVD player." Among the changes coming to MSG for the 2011-12 season are the "curving in the middle and upper bowl areas 17 degrees," which will allow Rangers fans to put less strain in their vocal chords when hurling homophobic insults at opposing teams.

As for Gomez, he took a ton of flack last season despite solid numbers because he didn't click with Jaromir Jagr. It's a little frightening that he and Chris Drury are facing the same question entering this year's camp: Can they click with newly acquired Markus Naslund and/or Nikolai Zherdev? Will the Rangers load up a top line with both wingers and Gomez?

The anticipation is there for Zherdev's game to be activated by Gomez. In 2001, Gomez helped another Russian winger (albeit a left-handed one) named Mogilny to a 43-goal season. Alexander's obviously a much better player than Nikolai; but Gomez is also a much better player than he was in 2001.

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