Monday, October 11, 2010

The Human Touch

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.


Amanda said...

That's exactly what I thought. They were rattled and I didn't think they would bounce back from it. I hoped they would be able to overcome it to "win it for him" but I wasn't surprised that they didn't.

Pominville seems to be a genuinely nice guy, a good guy. I don't think I've ever heard a bad thing about him as a man. And he's been with Roy, Gaustad, Miller, et al for what - eight years? Roy looked upset, Gaustad was skating around in aimless circles, and Miller looked like he was going to lose it, and I didn't blame them at all.

So yeah, I would've liked to have seem them win it, but I'll give them a pass on the loss.

Katie said...

I agree with everything you said. Sorry if I repeat most of it in the post I'm working on right now. Should they have put their emotions aside and focused on the game? Yes. Can anyone blame them for being human and worrying about their friend? I can't find it in myself to do that tonight.

Anonymous said...

how many players need to be subtracted from the Hawks' cup winner before the Sabres are as good as they are?

Anonymous said...

as a PS Heather, note that Hossa and Pominville are both paid 5.3 mil this year...who overpaid for their players again?

Heather B. said...

how many players need to be subtracted from the Hawks' cup winner before the Sabres are as good as they are?

A lot? I mean, they are a Cup winner and despite losing players they still have two top 3 draft picks and a Norris winner. I don't think anyone would deny that they still have a very, very talented core.

That said, I wasn't that impressed with most of the Hawks last night. I'm interested to see how the two teams match up on Saturday when there aren't the weird circumstances surrounding the game that there were tonight. But are the Hawks better than the Sabres? Sure, probably. I certainly wouldn't argue that the Sabres are the best team in the NHL.

And I called Jason Pominville overpaid in this post so yeah. I'm not going to argue with you there. When the Sabres signed him, I thought it was at good money. So far they were wrong and I was wrong with them. I got no problem admitting that.

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather!
Hey I was NOT picking a fight with you in my comments( if I was, I am sure you would honorably remove your helmet first,before we exchanged uppercuts. You're like that I bet)
I spoke of Hossa that way because you spoke of JP's too big salary and I agreed; also you nailed it re the Saturday rematch when its all on an even keel from the start. We DO forget that these are people who can be shaken and afraid by a chance turn of events like last night's hit.
Hey I love your blog...anyone who reads Philip Yancey and CS Lewis while enjoying the slambang of the NHL is fine with me!!!(Its a paradox, not a contradiction)

Heather B. said...

Anonymous, I apologize if I sounded too defensive! I didn't think you were picking a fight at all, I promise. (It IS pretty remarkable that Hossa and Pominville have the same cap hit though, isn't it? Oh, if only the Sabres had figured out how to circumvent the cap! :))

And thank you for the kind words. Please feel free to comment any time! (I am nothing if not a paradox.)