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Pominville's Progression

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Jason Pominville claims that he doesn't think about the future or dwell in the past.

Doing either would seem to be pretty difficult for the second-year professional if anyone else were in his shoes.

In 57 games during last year's regular season and the first 18 during playoffs of his career, the soft-spoken forward has not so quietly created a name for himself in the league. Just ask the Ottawa Senators.

Making this year's lineup straight from training camp would seem like a sure thing given the right winger's past successes, but Pominville asserts that being on the opening-night roster for the first time in his career was his lone goal entering this season.

You see, Pominville isn't thinking about what he should do or already did, he is more concerned about doing what he can to help the team.

"I just want to go out there, work hard, have fun and forget what happened last year," said Pominville with a smile on his face following practice on Thursday.

What Pominville did last year was score goals, lots of them, at big times. His 0.32 goals per game average ranks third among Sabres returning from last year's lineup, trailing only two players who trade the "C" back and forth.

His 10 points (5+5) in the postseason led all rookies in scoring, and he ended the Ottawa Senators season with a shorthanded goal in overtime of Game 5 in the second round of the 2006 Playoffs.

That's a considerably high bar to try to surpass, but Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff is confident that the two-way player can progress through his sophomore season.

”Like any player, we want him to improve and we want him to have a better year than he had last year," said Ruff. "I think he's capable of the 30-goal mark, I think he's that good a goal scorer."

Pominville's most dangerous weapon is his furious shot, which can be classified in the same group as Ales Kotalik's cannon. When asked to describe the forward's ice-to-net missile, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller added the following.

"As a shooter, he has one of the best releases that I've seen," said Miller, who has high expectations for Pominville this season. "That ranks him up there in the top of the league. He has the little half slapper that comes off as a full slapshot.

"The way he shoots the puck, [the shot] spins away from him. A right handed shot going glove is one of the hardest saves you can make just because of the style of his shot."

Before Ottawa's Public Enemy Number One returns on Saturday, he'll have to face his hometown team, the Montreal Canadiens, on Friday night in the Sabres home opener (MSG, WGR 550-AM, 7:30 p.m.).

"It was a good moment," said Pominville concerning his Game 5 winner. "Once I'm [in Ottawa] I'll probably think about it a little bit."
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