The Sabres are still undecided on Pominville

The veteran winger feels there needs to be more attention to detail on this team

Paul Hamilton
May 06, 2019 - 11:52 am

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports

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(WGR 550) - Jason Pominville will be 37-years-old by next November, so the Sabres haven’t made a decision yet on the unrestricted free agent.

Pominville scored 16 goals in 73 games last season, but he was also a healthy scratch at times. If he wants to stay with the Sabres, he would have to take a considerable pay cut from the $5 million he made this season. As far as if he wants to be back, the veteran said, “I feel good, my body feels good, I feel like I can play, but I definitely need time.”

Pominville was on a team that won 10 straight games and was on a team that was the worst in the NHL after that happened. He said, “When things were going well, we probably weren’t as good as things were going and I can also say I don’t think that we’re as bad as where we were at the end of the year and we have to take responsibility and look at ourselves in the mirror.”

Player accountability has been a big topic when talking about this year’s Sabres team. Their best players are their younger players, and the former captain of the Sabres said, “You always want more. We need more guys to hold each other more accountable and we need more guys to be accountable on themselves. So you’re always trying to find more of those guys.

“I think it was there at times, and at times I think it should’ve been there more, but to say that’s the reason we finished the way we did, I don’t think accountability was the only thing.”

Rasmus Ristolainen, Zemgus Girgensons, Sam Reinhart, Jack Eichel, Evan Rodrigues, Johan Larsson, Zach Bogosian and Jake McCabe have done nothing but lose their whole NHL career. Pominville said that’s the cycle that has to change, “There's definitely a group of guys that have been here for a while that this is all they know, the season ending way too early.

“There’s so much more to hockey than….” Pominville’s voice just trailed off and he was silent.

Pominville knows how to prepare himself and his body, which is why he’s still playing hockey at 36. He said, “The way you take care of yourself away from the rink, to winning games I think at times we might have taken that for granted as far as our preparation.” Pominville added, “When things are going well you think it’s just going to happen every night, but there are other teams that want to win too and those teams are willing to do whatever it takes to win.”

As Pominville went on, you could tell he had a lot on his mind and there were many areas where he thought they lacked as a team. Practice was another sore subject, “Maybe our practice habits or the way the room was before the game, I mean some nights we were a very upbeat group, some nights we probably weren’t was upbeat as we should be to win games consistently and sometimes we got the results we got because of it.”

Pominville put a lot of effort into trying to help the young players and to try to get the Sabres back to respectability. He is, of course, down that his efforts haven’t worked, “How can we sit here and be happy about where we’re at. I can definitely say that I’ve done everything that I could to try to help the team as much as I can, on the ice, in the room and in pretty much every aspect that I could, so, but this is not fun.”

Pominville has played 733 games as a Buffalo Sabre. He scored 217 goals and 521 points. In his first full season in the league, Pominville netted a career-high 34 goals. The next season, he had a career-high 80 points. I think the decision on if he’ll get a 12th season in Buffalo falls on Botterill and his staff, but I think it will fall a little bit on the new coach too and what he envisions the makeup of his team to be.

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