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Numminen Ends Drought

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres

February 15, 2006

by Brian Wheeler

Teppo Numminen often lets his offensive numbers speak for themselves.

Numminen, who is playing in his 17th NHL season, has scored 111 goals during his career. With all but two of those campaigns coming while wearing a Phoenix or Winnipeg uniform, the Tampere, Finland native holds that franchise's career record for goals (108), assists (426) and points (534) by a defenseman.

But this season hasn't gone as smoothly for one of the Buffalo Sabres two off-season acquisitions. Since being signed as an unrestricted free agent by Buffalo on August 4, the 6'2'', 198-pound blueliner has failed to record a goal in 55 consecutive games and has been stifled by opposing netminders game-in and game-out.

However, Numminen's goal lamp lighting drought came to an end on Wednesday, but his statistics for the Sabres won't bear the fruits of that labor.

Participating in the Winter Olympics as a representative of the Finnish nation hockey team, Numminen notched his first goal in nearly two years in a 5-0 Finland rout over Switzerland.

"Teppo leads our team with 30 assists and takes a terrible beating from his teammates for not yet scoring a goal," joked general manager Darcy Regier during the Super Sunday press conference at HSBC Arena on Wednesday. "He goes in on Martin Gerber, who plays for the Carolina Hurricanes (and is a native of Burgdorf, Switzerland), like he's got about 50 and fires one up over the goalie's shoulder for his first."

The marker has been long awaited for the Tampere, Finland native, who hasn't recorded a goal in the NHL since February 29, 2004 as a member of the Dallas Stars. It also opened the floodgates for Finland in that contest as they scored four goals in the period.

"We could have used that at Carolina last week," joked Regier, whose club suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday. "Hopefully, that's not his only one."

With that marker, the two-time Olympic Medalist - Silver in 1988 and Bronze in 1998 - increased his Olympic career numbers to three goals and six assists for nine points in 17 games played.

Numminen finished the contest adding four shots and a plus/minus rating of plus-one.

Click here for updates on the other Sabres at the Olympics.
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