May 8, 2007
by Brian Wheeler
Time tends to dull peoples memories. Moments are forgotten. But not when it comes to Jason Pominville
. He can't escape the past.
A year has come and gone, and the sophomore winger is still answering questions from complete strangers about his overtime, series-winning goal against the Ottawa Senators in Game Five of last year's playoffs.
The inquisitions lessened over 12 months, but then the hockey gods decided a rematch between the division rivals was in the cards.
Asked if the questioning had subsided or increased heading into the series, Pominville laughed and simply gestured to the media around the Sabres locker room, silently saying, "You mean what I've been talking about for the past 15 minutes?"
"A lot of people, that's the first thing they mention to me, especially last year," said Pominville. "Going back home over the summer, nobody would even talk to me about what happened during the year. The first thing they would mention was the goal."
"It was a great time but I think the best time was having the chance to play in the playoffs and having as good a team as we do this year."
And there lays the paradox. Pominville prefers to embrace the present instead of rehashing the past. The goal was a special moment for the then rookie. A career highlight some would say he may never best. But that one instance shouldn't define the remainder of Pominville's years in the league.
On a team that is built around the concept of selflessness, Pominville wants nothing more than success for the Sabres, not individual accolades. The good of the many, outweighs the good of a few.
He has has done his part to get the team to this point, chipping in 34 goals and 68 points during 82 regular season games. But the first President's Trophy in franchise history was much more satisfying than a play that lasted approximately seven seconds.
"If it's me, Max [Afinogenov] or [Chris] Drury, it's all about the team now," said Pominville regarding game-changing goals. "No matter who scores those big ones, our main goal is winning. That's what's most important for us."
He has left the past where it is and is focusing solely on the future, which is Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals this Thursday in HSBC Arena (Versus, 7 p.m.).
"It doesn't happen every year and for us to have that kind of team two years in a row is definitely something that is exciting."
"We were 20 minutes away last year and we just want to make sure that we take advantage of this opportunity."