MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Wild are in Denver, getting ready for game one of their best of seven series against Colorado Thursday night.
There are a number of things that have to happen to move the needle in the NHL playoffs. Your veterans playing well is high on the list.
Jason Pominville came over last season via a trade, then got hurt and never really made a big impact. This season, he’s been healthy, happy and able to fill a void.
Pominville knows what time of year it is — it’s the playoffs.
“The intensity of the battles, the details, the commitment, the playing out of character is going to raise to another level,” he said.
And this year, it is different — he’s had the entire season to acclimate himself, to get comfortable and to perform.
“Getting to know the guys coming into a new organization. I had spent 10-11 years with one organization, I knew everyone,” he said.
What Pominville has done has been more than produce on the ice. His comfort level has allowed him to lead at different junctures during the season, that was probably more important than what he did on the ice.
When Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise went down, Pominville understood and responded.
“He stepped up big time at that time,” said head coach Mike Yeo. “But I really saw him take his leadership to another level. This is a guy that’s been a captain in the league.”
That’s what he brings this week. He understands his team. They understand him — and that matters.
“It’s about bringing what you can to the team,” Pominville said. “It might’ve shown a little more when there was more guys out but I think throughout the year, you try to bring what you can to the team and I think leadership is one of them.”