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Bergen Record On Gomez

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Gomez can make Devils' attack go

http://www.bergenrecord.com/page.php?level...06&page=5308149

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

By DAN ROSEN

Staff Writer

WEST ORANGE - Scott Gomez remembers his dad yelling at him as a kid after he took the puck end-to-end three times in one shift. Ever since, the Devils' fourth-year center has learned that end-to-end is not as simple as going from point A to point B.

The 5-foot-11 Gomez is the Devils' setup guy, their version of Jason Kidd. He even jokes with teammates that if he were a few inches taller, he could have been a quarterback because of his peripheral vision.

"Don't get me wrong, when you put the puck in the net, there is no feeling like that," Gomez said. "But when you set someone up and all he has to do is tap it in, that's where I get my enjoyment."

Gomez had two assists in Saturday's win over Columbus, including a pass to Patrick Elias, his new linemate, which resulted in the game-winning goal with 7:40 remaining.

With Elias on one wing and Jeff Friesen on the other, Gomez being the center point of the Devils' offense might become more than just a passing phase.

Elias' presence demands the defense's attention, which could open scoring lanes for Friesen and allow the Devils' offense to break out and score more, something it hasn't done yet. The line practiced together Monday.

"I need to open things up for him [Elias] as well by using my speed," Friesen said. "I did that with Owen Nolan [in San Jose]. A lot of teams would key on him, and I would drive the middle and try to make a pick for him to open things up. Obviously, Elias is one of the best players in the game, so teams will key on him. I need to do my part to get them to key on me."

Friesen, though, said he would like to see Gomez start shooting more as well, to make the line a triple goal-scoring threat.

"If he shoots more, he'll find it will open more things up for him," Friesen said. "He's got a good shot, but you don't tell a great playmaker what to do. His game is not my game. He sees the game differently."

Gomez says he does shoot, and even jokes about getting a bad rap around the league. The only problem is that "the quality shots aren't always there," he said. "I need to get better quality shots because that will open things for the wingers."

Gomez set a Devils' rookie record with 51 assists in 1999-2000, and followed it with 49 assists in 2000-01 and 38 last season. By contrast, he's scored only 43 goals to go with his 140 career assists.

"He's such a great passer, and once things get rolling, he knows he's going to have big nights," Friesen said. "Great passers like that don't come along so often. He's going to make you score goals."

POWER OUTAGE: The Devils are 0-for-14 on power plays through the first two games, but coach Pat Burns said that performance coincides with the rest of the league's woes.

"I look around the league now, and maybe one or two teams will score, but overall the power play stinks," Burns said. "It will come around, but we have to be patient."

Twenty-one teams have scored on 20 percent or less of their power-play chances, and eight of them on less than 10 percent. The Devils, Boston (0-for-3), and Colorado (0-for-7) are the only teams without a power-play goal heading into Monday night. The Bruins and Avalanche had played just one game.

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I think I still like Gomer and Brylin together. I think that's been one of our best for a while.

While Friesen has had a slow start, maybe he's right there? Isn't he playing RW instead of his normal LW?

I think a better choice if Gomer and Elias play together (keeping in mind it did NOT work last year) is:

Elias-Gomer-Brylin

Friesen-Newy-Gionta

Pando-Madden-Langenbruner

Turner-Guolla/Danton-Jimbo/Salmon

It is obvious to me that Langenbruner is not a first line player. But He can switch with Gionta above. But I like him with Madden and Pando better.

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I say give EFG Line a go...Gomez is our best playmaker and Elias our best scorer, thay have to be together, and like the idea of Freisien out there maybe this is our answer to losing the "A" line???

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still need a digger on this line. who is going to the boards to dig the puck for cycles? Who is going to the net?

I see the line of Patty, Gomer and Freeze simply taking a lot of shots from the circles...kind of a one time shot with little or no cycling.

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I agree Chort...that's why Brylin might be a better choice there.

But do we really know what Friesen has?

Do we really have any solid grinders?

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well, we have 80 games left, so my vote is to let the new coach shuffle his new players around a little for the next couple of weeks, by mid-november the three-somes should work themselves out. We're already off to a better start than last year, and we've got the same lame schedule as last year (play tonight, take a week off, play back to back games, take a week off), so there's plenty of practice time too. Like I always say, the personnel decisions are based on what the coaches see in practice, who's got the jump, who's matching up well with someone else, who's got some chemistry starting, etc. - those are all things you don't see long enough in a game to make a good call on.

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it did look nice, and i wouldn't mind giving it a shot. but if it means that newy is not going to be counted on for scoring, then that's a problem.

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Patience, Patience, Patience. There are six starters on this years club that were not hear this time last year. This team will need time 15-20 games to really start to click. The good news is that we are 2-1 when it took us 6 games to get our first win last year. And we still made the playoffs.

The trouble on the PP as I saw it was two-fold. First, as has been said many times hear, no one was in front of the net with any consistency. Second, there were too many passes. The team needs to get set and shoot quicker. Of course that works better with someone in front of the net.

Patience.

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Patience, Patience, Patience. There are six starters on this years club that were not hear this time last year. This team will need time 15-20 games to really start to click. The good news is that we are 2-1 when it took us 6 games to get our first win last year. And we still made the playoffs.

The trouble on the PP as I saw it was two-fold. First, as has been said many times hear, no one was in front of the net with any consistency. Second, there were too many passes. The team needs to get set and shoot quicker. Of course that works better with someone in front of the net.

Patience.

Devil Dog -

I agree totally with your post. I can't believe all the negative posts since the season started. We are 2-0 aren't we - not 0-2????

On the PP, Nieuwy's place has always been in front of the net - not sure what's different here, other than all the new personnel trying to work into a new system, as you said.

And last - I really love your avatar, being a Beatles fan from the '60s :o

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NJDev25:

I agree totally with your post. I can't believe all the negative posts since the season started. We are 2-0 aren't we - not 0-2????

Generally I agree. We need to give this team, with all of the new blood, time to gel.

But I am a little concerned about a PP that can't even get shots on goal, let alone goals. It's kind of good and sad at the same time that Madden and the PK'ers are creating more chances than our Power Play.

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NJDev25:

And last - I really love your avatar, being a Beatles fan from the '60s

GOO GOO GOO JOOB!!!

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The trouble on the PP as I saw it was two-fold. First, as has been said many times hear, no one was in front of the net with any consistency. Second, there were too many passes. The team needs to get set and shoot quicker. Of course that works better with someone in front of the net.

Yep, I also noticed way too many fancy passes to nowhere and also our guys were taking TOO long to get the shot off. If you hesitate, of course the other team has time to block the damn shot!!!!! :angry:

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Just gave away my age didn't I? :P

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TheBlue Jackets didn't even try to come after the puck Saturday night. They just crowded in front of the goal and blocked any shooting lanes. Niewendyck or anyone else couldn't move all four of them out of the way.

Back to the original topic, I like the Friessen Gomez Elias Idea. That king of speed realy kills. I had forgotten how fast Gomez was after watching him skate as slowly as Holik last year.

Gomez can and does hit guys on the boards, and works the corners pretty well. He is a pretty strong guy.

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We have awhile to figure these lines out...so let's do some experimenting. Keep Elias-Gomer- Friesen together.

I'd really like to see how Brylin-Newy-Gionta work together.

And i still can't get enough of Danton!!! I love that nutty bastard!!

GO DEVILS!!!

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