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by Kevin Sylvester / Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo Sabres' Jason Pominville (29) is carted off the ice after a hit during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/ David Duprey)
Niklas Hjarlmarsson can say that didn’t intend to hurt Jason Pominville, but it rings hollow because it doesn’t eliminate his intention to hit Pominville. 

I knew immediately after he was hit that it wasn't clean, and credit to Rick Jeanneret for being all over it on his game call as soon as it occurred. 

After reviewing the video again today, it’s incomprehensible that Hjarlmarsson thought he was about to deliver a legal, clean hit. Pominville didn’t have the puck yet, and his back was turned.  Hjarlmarsson wasn’t going full speed and it appeared he had time to make a decision, obviously the wrong one. 

After the game, he was quoted as saying he thought the hit was shoulder to shoulder.  Really?  Hjarlmarsson’s shoulder made impact between the two and the nine on Pominville’s sweater.  It was ugly all the way around. 

I understand that he’s going to try and downplay it, but don’t add insult to injury by calling it clean.  The interesting side story to the disciplinary hearing for Hjarlmarsson on Tuesday is the fact that the Sabres play in Chicago on Saturday.  The wise choice would seem to be a five-game suspension, but a small part of me would like to see just two games, giving the Sabres a chance to address the situation directly.

On that topic, be sure to check out Patrick Kaleta’s comments following practice Tuesday regarding the hit to Pominville.  As someone that has been disciplined by the league for a hit, Kaleta has the credibility to deliver the comments he did - and that’s not to shortchange Ryan Miller.  The Sabres goaltender had some strong comments on the situation, and he has the clout to have them played in the mainstream media. 

A small part of the picture that really stinks is Jason Pominville’s consecutive games played streak is going to end at 336.  That’s and incredible number in today’s NHL, and a testament to his conditioning and work ethic.
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