Gomez Begins Coaching Journey With Islanders

Scotty Gomez‘s arrival as the Islanders‘ latest assistant coach hire did not come easily — thanks to his new boss Head Coach Doug Weight.

[Fischler: Isles Welcome Luke Richardson to Coaching Staff]

“Doug and I talked a good hour-and-a-half before we came to any agreement,” Gomez told me in a phone interview yesterday (Tuesday).

“We went over just about everything from my beliefs, how the game should be played; his thoughts and what I could bring to the Islanders’ table.”

That would be plenty, starting with a ton of experience.

Having won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils would be a starter. The two-time National Hockey League All-Star also played for the Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators.

Plus, he was tutored by Hall of Fame executive Lou Lamoriello when Lou was GM in New Jersey.

“Lou taught me how to be a pro,” Gomer explained. “It was all about discipline and being a real player. I owe Lou a lot and he knows it.”

In selecting Gomez, Weight had a checklist of his own and, in the end, Scotty had the right round pegs for the round holes.

“Scott brings an immense amount of hockey knowledge to our coaching staff,” Weight said in a prepared statement. “His offensive instincts, expertise on the power play and the way he controlled the game with his skating and smarts.

“These are all key elements that we want implemented into our group. He can relate to today’s NHL player in an effort to bring out the best in each member of the team.”

Since Gomez played as recently as the 2015-16 season, he’s expected to work closely with the younger Islanders, possibly even prodigy Mathew Barzal, a center like Gomez, who has a good chance of making the big club.

As one Islanders executive told The Maven, “Scotty will be able to relate to the Millennials on our roster. Some of them are from a new breed of player.”

Gomez is prepared for that role. As a Devils freshman in 1999-2000, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. While Scotty was at it, he was a main cog in the New Jersey scoring machine.

Being so young on a championship team dazzled the Anchorage, Alaska native. He cites Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens as one of his mentors. Others include Bobby Holik, Randy McKay and Mister Devil, himself, Ken Daneyko.

New York Hockey Journal Islanders beat writer Leo Scaglione, Jr. is another critic who endorses the Gomez hiring.

“Gomer will thrive,” said Leo. “He has an excellent coaching handbook from which to read. He learned from his coaches such as Larry Robinson, Pat Burns and Lou Lamoriello. His personality isn’t rough, but firm.”

To which Scott added: “I’m not shy.”

Asked to select which Stanley Cup team was his favorite, Scotty hesitated, knowing there was a big difference between the 2000 variety and 2003.

“Of the two Cup teams I was on,” Scotty asserted, “the first one is best. Then again, I was so excited over what was happening around me half the time I didn’t know what was going on.

“One of my teammates on that club once said to me, ‘Scotty, you don’t know how lucky you are to get a Cup-winning out of the way as a rookie in this league.’ And he was right.”

But luck was only a small part of the Gomez Saga. During his playoff tenure, he scored 101 points (29 goals, 72 assists) in 149 Cup games. Not surprisingly, he was a major element on the 2003 New Jersey champions.

Like many of his title teammates, Scott lamented the fact that the 2000 defending champions lost in seven Final games the following year to the Colorado Avalanche.

“Losing to Colorado stuck in our craw, but when we won the Cup again in 2003 that washed all the bad taste away,” Gomez said. “Just the fact that we were able to come back two years later and do it again was really something.

[Daneyko: What Does It Take to Win the Cup?]

“But the experience in 2001 and 2003 taught me a lesson, and it’s something I want to convey especially to the young guys. Playing hockey is like being on a roller coaster; you’re up, you’re down. I rode that roller coaster every which way.”

Another element the Islanders’ general staff wants Gomez to bring to the room is his innate sense of humor; to keep things light at the right time and place.

As he puts it, “I have to show not one guy on the team, but all the guys. I want to make them all better, but I won’t be there to break them.”

Then, a pause and another moment to reflect: “The bottom line is I’ll be there to help them win the Stanley Cup.”

Why not? Gomez has been there — done that!