Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Put Berglund on Injured Reserve, Sign Gomez

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Put Berglund on Injured Reserve, Sign Gomez

Article excerpt

Scott Gomez once again found himself in the situation many veteran players find themselves in during the salary-cap era: Teams give long-term, high-priced contracts to the kids, then fill out their roster with low-priced veterans, some of whom don't get a contract until very close to opening day.

Gomez, a 17-season NHL veteran who had been in camp with the Blues on a professional tryout offer, signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Blues on Wednesday that will pay him $575,000 in the NHL and $200,000 if he's in the American Hockey League. It's the second straight season Gomez didn't get a contract in the offseason but eventually hooked up with a team. Last season, it didn't happen until December.

"Every year, you come (to camp) and prove yourself," Gomez, 35, said. "It's kind of like that for older players now. I thought this (team) would be the best fit. It's exciting."

Gomez had seven goals and 27 assists in 58 games last season for New Jersey.

"I can still play," he said. "I can still contribute. Last year, I got the opportunity. Some teams didn't figure out I'm probably not the best fourth liner, going up and down checking guys. You put me in a situation with my skill set, I can still play. The hands and the mind are the last to go. It's your legs, your body. I haven't lost my legs yet. It's not like I'm dragging. I can still play the game. They just think I'm a lot older because I've been in it so long."

Indeed, Gomez broke into the league in 1999.

The Blues had settled on Gomez after their camp in Ann Arbor, Mich., but for procedural reasons the deal wasn't finished until Wednesday. The Blues had to put Patrik Berglund on their opening day roster, then move him to long-term injured reserve to maximize the salary-cap relief they would get. After that, they could go ahead with the signing.

Gomez said he liked what he saw of the Blues when he talked to them over the summer.

"You look at playing against them the last couple of years, the skill set," he said. "It's probably the most skilled team I've been on since the old Devils' days. We were talking over the summer; there were spots. The last couple of years I've been on young teams and probably played more, but you want to win. …

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