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Pominville head of Buffalo's home-grown leadership

by Corey Masisak
HELSINKI -- The "Residents of Pominville" have reason to rejoice before the season even begins.

Jason Pominville was named captain of the Buffalo Sabres at a private team function Thursday, one day before the team faces the Anaheim Ducks in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere at Hartwall Areena (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

"I think it is a great honor. I think it is going to be a good challenge, and I'm up to the task. I'm definitely excited about it," Pominville said. "I think you have a lot of different type of characters on the team, and I'm not the only guy who is going to step up and say things. I think I might be more of a 1-on-1 guy, just kind of going up to the guy and talking to him.

"I don't know if the yelling and screaming method still works in today's game, but there will probably be a little of both with the team. Hopefully we won't have to see any of that, but if we do, we have certain guys who can do it in different ways."

Jason Pominville
Right Wing - BUF
Goals: - | Assists: - | Pts: -
Shots: - | +/-: -
Pominville has posted five consecutive seasons of at least 20 goals and 50 points for the Sabres, including 22 goals and 52 points last season in 73 games. A measure of his consistency is those 73 contests were the first time he hadn't played in all 82 for Buffalo since his rookie season in 2005-06.

The Sabres were without a captain at the end of last season after trading Craig Rivet, who spent two-plus years in the role, to Columbus.

This also is not the first time Pominville has held the captaincy -- he was captain in March and April 2008 as the captaincy was rotated on a monthly basis during 2007-08 season.

"I think at the end it was an easy decision," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "Jason prepares himself well for games. He's a consummate pro. He's well respected amongst his teammates, and I think the way he plays speaks for itself."

Also named to the leadership group Thursday were alternate captains Thomas Vanek, Paul Gaustad, Drew Stafford and Derek Roy.

Those five players, plus goaltender Ryan Miller, have played together since the 2006-07 season, and four of them (Pominville, Roy, Gaustad and Miller) have been together since their days in the American Hockey League.

The Sabres spent lots of money this summer to acquire new players to complement their "core group," but this was a signal that Buffalo still will rely on those players a great deal.

"We kept it to that same core -- it is their time," Ruff said. "I expect a lot out of them, being first on the ice and obviously setting an example -- a leader is someone who players want to follow.

"We spent time talking with Darcy (Regier, GM) in management, and Terry (Pegula, owner) was involved, but we felt this was the right move for this group that has grown up together -- that this should be their team."
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