Montreal Canadiens' Scott Gomez nearing a return to action

Scott Gomez is a few strides closer to returning to the Canadiens’ lineup and head coach Jacques Martin is looking at a real-life game of musical chairs.

The Canadiens have four centre spots available and the return of Gomez means the Canadiens will have five centres. The four current centres will remain in the lineup when Gomez returns, but one will be asked to play on the wing.

It won’t be Tomas Plekanec. He has been the Canadiens’ leading scorer the past two seasons and has proven that he is a top-line centre.

And it won’t be newcomer Petteri Nokelainen. The Finn is the Canadiens’ most successful faceoff man and his size is a welcome addition to the fourth line.

That leaves Gomez, Lars Eller and David Desharnais.

Gomez has been a lightning rod for criticism since Bob Gainey traded for him two summers ago and his performance has fallen far short of his $7.3-million cap hit. But Gomez will be in the middle on the second or third line because (a) he’s a better faceoff man than either of the other two and (b) Eller and Desharnais are more likely to be successful on the wing.

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