Buffalo Sabres Welcome Back Jason Pominville for the First Time

Michael Straw@TheMikeStrawContributor IIIOctober 14, 2013

Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

When the Buffalo Sabres traded away team captain Jason Pominville at last April's NHL trade deadline, the feeling was that it was the beginning of a massive overhaul of the roster.

The team traded Pominville, Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr as part of its movement to begin the ushering of a new, younger Buffalo roster. Of the big three—Pominville, Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek—who were expected to be moved as part of the rebuild, only the former captain was dealt. Now Pominville returns to Buffalo for the first time as a member of the Minnesota Wild in what’s sure to be an emotional night for the man who spent nine years with the Sabres.

“It was weird coming in through the same door you usually go in, and having to go left instead of go right to go to the locker room was a little different,” Pominville said after the Wild’s morning skate in Buffalo on Monday, courtesy of Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News. “It’s good to be back, a lot of great memories, a lot of good times. Just excited to get the game going.”

Pominville, who was dealt to the Wild for goaltender Matt Hackett, forward Johan Larsson and a first-round and second-round draft pick, understands exactly why the Sabres did what they did when they decided to trade him; he knows it’s part of the business.

“I don’t hold anything against the organization or anything like that,” he said. “I’m just happy to be where I’m at now and looking forward to get this game played.”

Vanek, who is Pominville’s former line mate, knows that the game is going to be emotional for his former teammate, but downplayed it a little during the day.

“Who?” a smiling Vanek said.

The 29-year-old free agent-to-be admits that while tonight may be a little weird for him, he thinks it will affect Pominville more so than the Sabres.

“I’ve been here for a while, and I’ve seen a lot of teammates leave,” Vanek said.

NOTE: Quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted

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