AMHERST – Just hours after returning to Buffalo following a marathon travel day from Germany, Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville was back on the Northtown Center ice this morning, skating with 10 other teammates.
“I wanted to be here,” said Pominville, who left the Mannheim Eagles when the NHL lockout ended Sunday. “I wanted to make sure I get a good sweat. It’s going to be such a short turnaround (before the season) that’s there’s no time to take off.”
Pominville found out the NHL and the Players’ Association had tentatively reached a deal on the way to a game, so he and Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg drove back together. Pominville and his family flew from Frankfurt at 9:30 a.m. German time on Monday and got into Newark around 4 or 5 p.m.
“It was a long day,” Pominville said.
As expected, Pominville played well in the DEL, scoring five goals and 12 points in only seven games. His team also competed in the Spengler Cup, a European tournament.
“It was fun,” Pominville said about the experience. “Honestly, (it’s a) great organization. The GM (Teal Fowler) is from here. He’s a big Sabres fan. They treated me very well. Great fans.
“It’s different than what we see here. They sing the whole game. They chant. (It’s) a different kind of vibe. I’m excited I had a chance to go there and play.”
Pominville was also reunited with old linemate Jochen Hecht, the former Sabres standout who battled concussions last year and is currently an NHL free agent. The two skated together again.
“Jochen’s doing great, definitely interested in coming back,” Pominville said. “He’s actually playing really well. We were playing together. He looks great. He’s healthy. I mean, he’s the same Jochen that’s he’s always been, just one of those guys that is so solid in every area of the ice. … (He had) no health issues. …
“He’s just staying there patiently waiting for an opportunity to play. Whatever team gets him – hopefully, it’s us – … they’re going to have a good player, that’s for sure.”
UPDATE: Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said this afternoon Hecht, who has five goals and 13 points in only eight games with Mannheim, “remains a possibility.”
Regier plans to speak with Hecht’s agent.
“I know he’s been playing very well,” Regier said.
What do you think, Sabres fans? Should the team bring back Hecht?