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NHL on NBCSN: Wild’s Pominville returns to Buffalo amid Sabres’ descent

Oct 14, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Buffalo Sabres host the Minnesota Wild at the First Niagara Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

It wasn’t long ago that Jason Pominville was the Sabres’ captain. That ended when Buffalo dealt him to the Minnesota Wild in April as part of its efforts to kick start the rebuilding process.

Now Pominville will return to Buffalo for the first time since the trade. Early on in his 578-game stint in Buffalo, the Sabres made it all the way to the Conference Finals in back-to-back campaigns. Now they are dead last in NHL after scoring just six goals in six games.

If Buffalo continues its current descent, then it might not be long before Pominville’s friend, Thomas Vanek, and goaltender Ryan Miller follow in his footsteps. Both are in the final campaign of their respective contracts and have been two of the bright spots in Buffalo’s otherwise dreary start.

“[Miller’s] basically at this point one of the best players in the league in terms of influence on their hockey team,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston told the Buffalo News. That should underscore just how bad things have gotten when even Miller can’t buy a win despite his 2.29 GAA and .941 save percentage in four starts.

When Buffalo has scored, Thomas Vanek has usually played a hand in it. He has two goals and two assists, making him one of just three Sabres players to have multiple points so far this season.

While the Sabres try and put their nasty beginning behind them and show that it’s not a sign of things to come, the Wild will compete for their third straight win.

Expectations have increased in Minnesota since signed forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter in the summer of 2012. The Wild ended their playoff slump in 2013, but didn’t get past the first round. The pressure is on for them to do better this season, but first they’ll need to secure a spot in the tough Central Division.

So far they have a respectable 2-1-2 record and have gotten some needed production out of their younger forwards. They’ve also been the best team on the draw while the Sabres are among the worst.

Just another one of the hills the Sabres will need to climb as they get things ready for the return of their former captain.

  1. 2qswing - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Boy NBC sure loves the Sabres

    • thomasvanek - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      Trust me its not a good thing as a sabres fan. I hate listening to those commentators over there I’d much rather listen to good ol’ RJ.

      • sjsblitz - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        MAYDAY! MAYDAY!!!!

  2. llojac1 - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    Huge Sabres fan here & I hope Pommer gets a hat trick tonight, if only to prove once again how incompetent Darcy Regier is. Yes, it has gotten this bad in Buffalo being a Sabres fan.

    • getadealdonealready - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Wild fan here. Not sure if it helps Buff fans but only time will tell, but I think you guys have the better long term players in this deal.

      • drhockeysm7 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:37 PM

        Larsson and Hackett are going to be GOOD NHL players, that much I do agree with… But the Wild already have Backstrom and Harding (Impressive numbers since Backstrom injury), with Kuemper (Bigger and better than Hackett IMO, with very solid stats in his few short stints with the Wild) and Gustafson…

        Will Larsson become a near point a game player like Pommer has become over nearly 600 games in the league, maybe, not many do… But the Wild needed somebody who is that kind of player NOW!

        I didn’t like the move at first, but Pommer has been very consistent, and the other youngsters are carrying their weight, so losing Larsson doesn’t seem to have as much impact as I thought it would.

        As Bob Marley said, Time will tell…

      • guitarhunterdude - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        Hackett’s got some pretty good potential, but both Kuemper and Gustafsson look like they’ll be better. I doubt Larsson will ever be as good as Pominville. He looks like he’ll be a pretty good all-around player, but I don’t see him being a career first-liner. A very good third-liner is about as good as he’ll ever get, I think, perhaps a second-liner. So they should be contributors in the NHL (Hackett will be a solid starter, IMO), but neither one looks to be a future star.

  3. lilroot9 - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    So as a Sabres fan, I am not happy with the start of the season, but it’s only the start. There have been good things to like as a fan (OK, not many, but some) and some bad things, but with a inexperienced roster I don’t know I would expect much else. Vanek is doing great, just not finishing. He gets a chance on almost every shift (or sets up a great chance), once he starts finishing, we will have some wins.

    I look for a chance for Vanek to lite up the Wild tonight, he is due. As for a Sabres win, I think it will be an OT / Shootout Loss for the Sabres tonight, but I hope they pull out a win.

  4. pxland - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Palpitating with excitement…

  5. hosewater2 - Oct 14, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Again, no need to upgrade the cable package to get NBCSN when they choose lousy games like this.

    • buddysguys - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      its an updgarde with your provider? that stinks……

    • drhockeysm7 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Feel free to tune in to catch a glimpse of a Western Conference team that gets very little nationwide attention. The MN Wild are poised to make drastic upward moves for years to come, don’t let their 2-1-2 record fool you, they have out-played and out-chanced their opponents in all 5 games so far this year.

      • lordfletcher - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        I agree.

        As long as the wild get theirs tonight (goals), they should dominate almost every statistical column.

        4-2 Wild, Nino and Suter with big nights

  6. President Charles Logan - Oct 14, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    So yeah this game will get the worst ratings in NHL history with these two losers at the helm

  7. buffaloproud - Oct 14, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I am a Sabs fan and im tuning in for the Wild… weird you say? Have you seen my sabres?

  8. billsin20xx - Oct 14, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Hopefully the whole place will be booing and shouting “Fire Regier” all night tonight. When they announced last spring they were keeping Regier I gave up my share in some season tickets (I had 15 games), sure glad I did that now.

  9. leninthebuff - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Pomer and a 4th this year for Larrson, Hackett, Zadorov and a 2nd this year…tough to say as Minny will benefit early and those prospects have potential so until we are 2-3 yrs down the road can we say who won the trade…hopefully both team are happy when all is said and done.

    If Minny is there come playoff time what do they offer for Vanek? Yes I know they can wait til after the season is over but if he is the missing piece that they think can push them to Lord Stanley do they wait?

  10. cantphaseme - Oct 15, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    I understand all the negativity from Sabres fans but what we have to realize is that this team, minus a few veterans, does not have a lot of experience together let alone in the NHL. This team is young and even though their record doesn’t show it, they are in the right direction. Look at the Leafs, they rebuilt with young talent. It’s what needed to be done.

  11. roenicksucs - Oct 15, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    i always thought Jeremy roenick was a dick last night he proved it. before the second period started when the lights were going back on Roenick says that this helps buffalo because no pucks were going in their net. when the score was only 1-0. someone needs to shave his head , and kick him in the nuts

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