Thursday, November 8, 2007

Jason Pominville is a Good Hockey Player

In honor of NaBloPoMO, I'll be attempting to post something every day in November. If you're not checking in every day, make sure you're catching all the posts! Yes, I missed yesterday, thanks for noticing...

I've been thinking a lot about Jason Pominville lately. This is a new thing for me because generally I don't think of him very often. I was as excited as every other Sabres fan when he scored his series winning short-handed goal against Ottawa in the 2006 playoffs but I admit I didn't really think of him as a super important part of the puzzle the following season. And even though he scored 34 goals and was the star of my (really bad) fantasy hockey team last season - I picked him up out of the undrafted pile for crying out loud - I still didn't really think of him that much until the playoffs. And then I reamed him, ranting on an almost nightly basis to Mark about how "Pominville better not think I'm going to let him coast on that playoff shortie forever." (For the record, I do think he was remarkably bad in the post-season and unlike some players, his name didn't come up much. And yes that was me indirectly defending Derek Roy. I told you, I have a thing about that.) Even this off-season, I didn't think much about Jason Pominville. I thought it was ridiculous for people to say his entire game was going to shrivel up and disappear without Daniel Briere, but I didn't think of him as one of the guys who was going to be a difference maker. A few weeks ago, just for kicks, I ranked the current Sabres roster from favorite to least favorite and I was about halfway through the list before I even thought of Jason Pominville.

But as I said, lately I have been thinking about Jason Pominville. You know why? Because it turns out he's a pretty good hockey player! I know! Before the season started, we got confident quotes from the usual suspects - Ryan Miller, Adam Mair, Brian Campbell. "The captains were great but we learned a lot from them and we'll be fine. We're a good hockey team." And once the season started and the team struggled, the same players kept saying the same things. "We just have to work harder and everything will start clicking." And while I appreciate all the confident talking, I was really hitting the point where I wanted a little less talk and a lot more action. One of the few players who seemed to really get that talking about playing better wasn't the same thing as actually playing better was Jason Pominville. He's worked hard every single game, even when it didn't pay off. He's played at both ends of the ice unlike many other forwards on the team. He's not flashy, his style doesn't usually jump out at you, but somewhere along the way he's become a very dependable, consistent, two-way player. I feel like an idiot. When did this happen?

After I realized, hey, you know this Pommers kid might have a real future in the NHL, I started thinking about why he's so often an afterthought for me and I finally realized what exactly the problem is. Puck bunnies. Seriously. I've never seen a POMINVILLE jersey on anyone who wasn't a)female, b)between the ages of 12 and 25 and c)carrying around a sign that says "I Heart Jason." As a female, I'm extremely wary of the whole puck bunny thing. While I occasionally let loose, I think pretty carefully about what I write here because I want people to take me seriously as a hockey fan. I know many people see me in a jersey they automatically assume I'm a puck bunny (even though I look nothing like your average puck bunny) so there's a strike against me before we've even started talking. Evidently I've sort of lumped Jason Pominville in with all things puck bunny and packed him away.

Seriously, doesn't he look more like the member of a boy band than a hockey player?

So Jason, I owe you an apology. It's not your fault that you have the non-threatening puppy dog looks that appeal to females of a certain age. It's not your fault that you sound like an earnest 12-year-old when you talk. You're a good hockey player and I promise from now on I won't take that for granted. I think you're going to stick, you know?

(See if you can't get those buddies of yours to play as hard as you are, okay?)


Mark B said...

All Poms has done at every level he's played is scored goals consistently. I think we all take that for granted here. In two years, the following players' contracts will be up: Miller, Connolly, Pominville, Stafford, and Kotalik. I would hope Jason would be one of the ones that they absolutely commit to keeping.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say, I love your have hit the nail on the head in quite a few occasions; including your derek roy post last week (which i immediately forwarded to my best friend as i felt she could have been the one writing it. This one is no exception...I have never really thought about Pominville as a truly amazing player and he definately slipped under my radar on more then on occasion, and what you said about his female fan base--Absolutely True

Keep up the great work!!!

Heather B. said...

anonymous, thanks for the compliment! I really appreciate it. I hope you (and your friend) stick around and read/comment to your heart's content!

My husband just told me my 17-year-old niece, who as far as I know barely watches hockey, is getting a Pominville jersey for Christmas to which I responded, "This is why I can't take him seriously!" Poor guy :-)