Sabres' Jason Pominville to reach his 1,000 NHL game in Ottawa

November 01, 2018 - 2:02 pm
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Ottawa, ON (WGR 550) - When Jason Pominville touches the ice in Ottawa after puck drop, he will have played in his 1,000th NHL game. He almost didn’t play 673 games with the Buffalo Sabres because in 2005, he was put on waivers. Pominville said he never gave much thought to the fact that had he been claimed, he would’ve played just one game with Buffalo, “No, I figured that I probably wasn’t going to get taken. At the start of training camp teams have all their players, the rosters are set in the summer, I had success in the A, but hadn’t played many games in the NHL and figured my chances were pretty slim.”

It’s ironic that Pominville’s 1,000th game is going to come in the building where he scored his biggest goal. In 2006, the Sabres got a penalty in overtime. Pominville took off down the left wing side and had only forward Daniel Alfredsson to beat. He flew around the Sens captain and beat Ray Emery to win the series. The winger said, “It by far was my best moment, it’s the biggest goal that I’ve scored, so it couldn’t have been a better spot to have it.”

Pominville is from Montreal so it won’t be far to have family and friends here, “It’ll be nice for me, but also my family and friends that are going to be able to be here for this and it will be pretty special for everyone.”

Pominville’s first NHL game was in Washington and the next season came his first NHL goal, “It was Olaf Kolzig against Washington. It wasn’t my first game, I think it was my third game and Jagr was there, a guy I grew up watching and then all of a sudden you’re on the same ice as him, Mike Greer was there, Robert Lang, so it was a pretty cool feeling.”

Pominville turns 36 this month. He’s been able to play this long and contribute because he cares about his body, “I’ve always taken pride in my summer workout, it’s habits and taking care of myself whether it’s at the rink or during the summer and it goes a long way.”

Pominville has no idea how long his career is going to go, he’s in the here and now, “I’m just trying to enjoy the moment and go a day at a time. A lot of it is after the season, to see how your body holds up and family decisions.”

Pominville credits many players to helping him. In Rochester he talked about Chris Taylor, Doug Houda and Jason Botterill and then in Buffalo is was Chris Drury and Danny Briere.

We talk about leaders a lot. Ryan O’Reilly had trouble leading because his on-ice play was very inconsistent. Kyle Okposo didn’t like his game last year and has spoken about how it was difficult for him to talk when his game wasn’t where it needed to be. Pominville has four goals and five assists for nine points in his last five games. It’s funny that the Sabres have picked up points in all five of those games. He said he likes to help young players, but…”I do feel that sometimes words get lost in translation if you can’t go out there and put them in play. I do feel that we have a group that pays a lot of attention, their eyes are open and you’ve got to make sure that you do the right things.”

Former Sabre Martin Biron said one day he came back to the hotel and all the furniture from his room was in the hall between the elevators. Biron said Pominville was the instigator, “It was with Danny, we had gone out to dinner and came back thinking we were going to wake Marty up and Marty wasn’t in his room, so we ended up grabbing everything he had in his room, his bed, his nightstand and everything and putting them in the hallway and as we were doing it, he was walking in, so he saw us and came running after us.”

Marco Scandella was teammates with Pominville in Minnesota, but they both grew up in Montreal. Pominville is almost seven years older, but they had run in to each other there, “I had skated with him a few times in the summer, but I watched him play when I was in bantam and midget coming up.”

When Pominville got to Minnesota, there was one thing Scandella noticed right away, “When you play with him, you notice what a professional he is. Every day he’s taking care of his body, but also he tries to get better, shooting pucks after practice and it goes a long ways being an example for guys.”

The Sabres come into this game with points in five straight. This is the Sabres first five game points streak since 2012 when they went nine straight games with a point. The blue and gold are tied with Montreal, two in back of Boston and Toronto and three behind first place Tampa Bay.

Buffalo is 7-1-2 in its last 10 games vs the Senators.

Remi Elie replaces Tage Thompson in the lineup. Phil Housley said Jake McCabe is a game-time decision, but McCabe already declared himself ready to play. He’ll replace Nate Beaulieu.

Carter Hutton is back in the crease after stealing a point for his team against Calgary. Hutton is 4-4-1 with a 2.94 goals against and .910 save percentage.

He goes against Craig Anderson. The veteran is 4-3-2 with a 3.48 goals against and .909 save percentage.

Ottawa had a good start, but now they’re on a four game losing streak. Names like Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman are gone. Defenseman Thomas Chabot is their leading scorer with 13 points in 11 games.

This year’s top pick Brady Tkachuk had six points in four games before suffering a left leg injury.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame starting at 6:30 when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella.

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