Pominville still adjusting to life back in Buffalo

Hear from the Sabres forward as he joined Howard and Jeremy on Tuesday

Howard & Jeremy | Weekdays 6a-10a
September 27, 2017 - 1:04 pm

The last time Jason Pominville wore a Buffalo Sabres uniform was on April 2, 2013 in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at, what used to be known as CONSOL Energy Center. Pominville registered two assists in a 4-1 road win as Buffalo was trying to find a way back into the playoff picture.

The very next day, Pominville and a 2014 fourth round pick were dealt to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Johan Larsson, Matt Hackett, a 2013 first round pick (Nikita Zadorov) and a 2014 second round pick (Vaclav Karabacek). The departure of Pominville was just the first of several transactions made that would change the course of the Sabres franchise for years to come.

Four years later, the Sabres re-acquired Pominville from the Wild in a trade that also brought Marco Scandella and a 2018 fourth round pick to Buffalo for Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno and a 2018 third round pick. Although Pominville was primarily seen as a throw-in to the deal, the 34-year old has already had a role this preseason playing on alongside Jack Eichel and Evander Kane.

After spending parts of his first eight seasons in the NHL with the Sabres, not many could have imagined seeing the former Sabres captain wearing the blue and gold ever again. Not even Pominville himself.

“I never thought it would happen again, but I’m definitely happy and excited about it,” Pominville said with Howard Simon and Jeremy White on WGR Tuesday morning. “It’s been kind of overwhelming, and it gives you extra energy and excitement to go out there and play.”

Pominville joins a completely new-look Sabres team that does not feature anyone that he had played with when last in Buffalo in 2013. Pominville now comes in as the "grizzled veteran" and the oldest player on the roster.

Despite Pominville's age, he still has the speed and skill to play at a highly-competitive level in the National Hockey League. As he enters his 12th season in the NHL, Pominville will be look at as a veteran leader on this squad composed of a good crop of young talent.

"I'm going to be one of the guys that will have to make sure that we're on track on a nightly basis and try to push guys to out-work, out-perform each other," Pominville said. "I've been fortunate to be on good teams during the time that I left - playoff teams and knowing what it takes to be in the playoffs. I'm sure that those are things that I will be counted on to do."

The preseason got off to a hot start for Pominville with two goals in his first game playing with Eichel and Kane against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The next game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pominville shifted to a line with Kane and Sam Reinhart and did not register a point.

Pominville has already been thrown into the lineup with players who can skate fast and play at a high pace. New Sabres head coach Phil Housley is a coach who wants players who can play at that fast pace and play with high energy. That is something that Pominville is still trying to get used to compared to his recent years in Minnesota.

"A lot of things are different in Phil's system," Pominville said. "A lot of things that we did in Minnesota we're not doing here. He wants to play the game fast, his neutral zone is completely different, the way the [defense] will be joining the rush is a little bit different as well. A lot of things are new. A lot of things are different, but the pace and style of play is going to be high. They've been pushing us really hard, and it's been a lot of fun. We have a great young group of guys that get along really well together and want to make sure that we push each other and be accountable to be better every day."

"He wants us to be aggressive," Pominville said. "It's always go-go-go pretty much. He doesn't want us stuck in between, so you just go and you don't have to think too much. That's the good part about it, but it will take a little bit of time. You've already seen the big strides that we've made on a daily basis. I think we'll keep making those strides as camp finishes up here."

You can listen to Pominville's entire interview here:

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