The last Canadiens forward to wear the #11 on their back was, my favorite player, and my lifetime idol, Saku Koivu. Koivu was a free agent in the 2009 summer, and was not given an offer to return to the team, as they were moving in a new direction. Finally, Koivu decided to play with a lifetime buddy of his, and fellow country man, Teemu Selanne. Acquired just before the Free Agent Frenzy in the summer of 2009 from the New York Rangers, Gomez came to Montreal with a fat contract. In the deal, the Habs traded top prospect Ryan McDonagh, and Chris Higgins and also received, gritty forward Tom Pyatt.
Back to Gomez. His first season as a Hab sort of illustrated what I thought of him originally, mediocre. He finished with 59 points, the same as in 2008-2009 with the Rangers, and nowhere near the ’05-’06 campaign where he raked in 84 points. With that said, he is a decent #2 center.
So why am I so upset that Gomez is wearing #11. Well, you have to take many different things into account. First off, Saku Koivu, the last Canadien to where #11, played 13 years in Montreal! 13! He was team captain for many of those years, survived cancer (and still came back for part of a season), donated most of his time money to cancer, and was a true leader not only with the Habs, but also in the city of Montreal.
Why do I wear #11 myself? Because of Koivu. He has shown what it takes to live life. He fought cancer, he is a good man, and went out every night and gave it everything he had. Something that Gomez does not do every night. I don’t see him give it his all every shift. Often you see him shy away from a hit where he could have possibly ended a scoring threat.
For Gomez to wear #11, in my opinion, is almost insulting. Gomez didn’t wear #11 last year because he thought it was too fresh since Koivu’s departure. Well it still is quite fresh. I would take Koivu over Gomez any day of the week, just for what he brings to the table, and most of that, is heart.
So please Montreal Canadiens, retire Koivu’s #11. He deserves it.