I babysat this evening and when I got in the car and turned on the radio, the first thing I heard was, "Pominville has been taken off the ice by medical staff, I imagine straight to an ambulance." My heart dropped. They didn't do a great job of explaining what happened for the radio audience, but they referred to a major penalty so I knew it must have been severe. I don't LOVE Jason Pominville the way a fan loves her favorite player. I find him pretty frustrating actually. For all the complaints about Tim Connolly's contract, I think Pominville has been the most glaringly overpaid player on the roster since his extension. I can't even stand to listen to his postgame interviews anymore. Jerry Sullivan referred to him the other day as robot. You wind him up, he says what he's programmed to say, and then he stops talking. That's a perfect description.
That said, I do have a lot of affection for Jason Pominville the person. He's been with the Sabres for a number of years, a lot of my years as a real fan. Most of them, really. He's settled into the community and seems to really like it here. That goes a long way with me. I drove home as fast as I could and before I had even closed the door behind me, I was asking Mark for an update. I was worried and scared. Seeing the footage of Pominville strapped to a stretcher, being wheeled off the ice, made me want to cry and at that point, I knew he was okay.
Like I said, I didn't see the beginning of the game, but the general consensus seems to be that everyone got rattled when Pominville hit the ice and that it took them a long time to get themselves back together. But I don't know, can you blame them? I was freaking out, and at the end of the day, Jason Pominville is a stranger to me. His teammates know him. I know we've all heard the word "core" so many times that it's become easy to dismiss, but the fact is, a number of these guys have been together for a long time. They've grown up together, they've played on multiple teams together, they've gotten married and started families together. These guys know Pominville's wife, and they've played with his son. They love each other. Whatever you want to say about them as hockey players, that much seems to be true. And it seems to me that every time a player in the NHL watches someone lying on the ice, unmoving, he has to know that it could have just as easily been him.
Was their reaction the most professional? No, probably not. I know everyone would like their team to be able to keep its collective head and rise above things like this. But was it human? Absolutely it was. And that's fine with me. It's a long season. I'll give them this one.