Pominville, usually a big optimist, can’t be one now.
“I try to stay positive and everything,” he said, “but I don’t think it’s going in the right direction. … As of right now, it doesn’t look too good.”
Right now, however, the NHLPA may be as united as the group has ever been.
“Everybody’s on the same page,” said defenseman Jordan Leopold, the Sabres’ player representative. “Everybody’s united as we were a month ago. Everybody’s on board.”
Everyone’s not on the ice, however. Practicing isn’t easy for the 10 or so guys left in town.
“We can’t do a lot,” Pominville said. “We can’t play full ice. We can’t play four-on-four. We’ll have to play three-on-three kind of on one end.”
Pominville gets to play a game tonight in La Tournée des Joueurs, a charity exhibition series pitting players from Montreal against the rest of Quebec.
The winger scored twice last week and enjoyed the experience. Fans packed a 1,300-seat rink outside Montreal. Some even waited in line more than two hours before tickets became available.
“The buildup to this has been great,” Pominville said. “It’s $20 to go see a hockey game basically in your backyard. Not a lot of people have the chance to pay $200, $300 to see NHL hockey at the Bell Centre (in Montreal).”
Pominville’s Montreal team will skate before 2,500 fans tonight and 4,000 on Friday, he said. Spectators like the fast-paced action.
“We don’t want to hurt each other,” Pominville said. “Guys are careful. The pace of the game is fast. Guys work hard. It’s a little bit more of a system game than if we would play shinny. It’s pretty good.”
Pominville’s still exploring his European options. The cost of insurance and the difficulty finding a team isn’t helping, though. Leopold recently worked out insurance arrangements if he decides to go overseas.