It’s not very often that a building containing 18,000 people will almost go silent for a few minutes, but the injury to Jason Pominville made that happen at HSBC Arena on Monday.
Thankfully, Pominville is in much better condition than what many expected after watching him lay in a crumpled heap on the ice after Nicklas Hjalmarsson’s hit from behind. Pominville was able to give a thumbs-out as he was taken off the rink on a stretcher, and amazingly enough did not leave the arena for the hospital that night. Reports are that he was even sitting up and talking in the dressing room.
The bad news it that he required eight stitches to close up a gash over his eye, and that he has been diagnosed with a concussion. The hit, which received only a two-game suspension from the NHL on Tuesday, has snapped one of the league’s best iron-man streaks.
Wednesday’s match against the New Jersey Devils was the first game Pominville missed since April 7th, 2006, where he was a healthy scratch against Philadelphia. In all, he led the Sabres in consecutive appearances with 336 straight games.
Fans are understandably very angry and disappointed by these results. However, the rest of the Buffalo Sabres roster was by far the most unnerved.
“We seemed a little stunned for a little while,” said coach Lindy Ruff, “[…] That is somebody laying there, you’re just thinking and praying that everything’s going to be okay.”
“Stunned” might be an understatement, because the team went into a shell following the injury. It’s more than understandable to be shaken up by an injury to your teammate, but the Sabres subsequent collapse against Chicago only suggests that this Buffalo team has a lot of toughening up to do before they’re ready for further success in the NHL.
After all, where was the response to the hit? Everybody who saw it first hand knew it was a dirty play, so why is it that Tim Connolly and Andrej Sekera were the only players to make an attempt at going after Hjalmarsson?
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