Sabres' Pominville enjoyed his emotional return

October 6, 2017

New York, NY (WGR 550) - Jason Pominville had quite a return to Buffalo. Pominville got both the Sabre goals on Thursday in his first game since being reacquired from Minnesota.

On opening night each player gets introduced and Pominville said that was emotional as he came down the hallway, “It was, it was pretty special, my parents were here, my wife’s parents, my kids, so I knew they were there which made it pretty cool. I got a great reception too, so it was nice to see.”

“You never really think that you’ll have a chance to put the jersey on again and it never really crossed my mind, but to finally play a game and to go out the tunnel was nice.”

Pominville opened the scoring after a great play to cause a turnover by Seth Griffith. The winger said, “I was fired up for sure. I think both of them I was pretty fired up.”

Pominville has played with many talented players including Chris Drury, Danny Briere and Zach Parise. In my mind, Jack Eichel is by far the most talented player he’s ever played with in the NHL. Pominville said he had to train himself to be ready for anything from Eichel, “You do and I told him earlier that at first I had a tough time adjusting to the way he passes because a lot of times he uses the toe of his stick and when you think he’s shooting, he then curls his wrists and uses the toe of his stick.”

“Sometimes you don’t think it’s coming even though you know he saw you because you think he’s going to shoot and then he just flicks it with the toe of his stick and you’ve got to be ready for it.”

I remember Brian Gionta telling me that as he got older, he had to do more off-ice training to stay in shape and ready to play. Pominville is 34, but he hasn’t experienced that, “I’ve been fortunate with injuries, so I haven’t had to change much since I’ve been a kid. Maybe I don’t emphasis on heavy lifting, but as far as workouts, I’ve been fortunate, I’ve been able to do everything that I’ve always done.”

Last season with the Wild, Pominville’s role changed. He was rarely on the power play on played on the third or fourth line. Pominville felt he adjusted better last season. He said two years ago he had a very bad season. Despite having his role diminished, he’s not upset at the Wild, “No, I don’t have any hard feelings, I think I’m just more excited to be here.”

Zach Bogosian didn’t practice on Friday and didn’t fly with the team to New York. Phil Housley didn’t think he’d wind up in Brooklyn, but he added, “You never know.”

Nothing changed from Thursday’s game except for the Josefson line. Matt Moulson took Jordan Nolan’s spot on right wing. Johan Larsson remained on the left.