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NUMMINEN THINKS OF THE FUTURE

Tuesday, 04.08.2008 / 10:41 AM / Features
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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NUMMINEN THINKS OF THE FUTURE
A smile crept across Teppo Numminen's face as he listened to a familiar question being asked. 

Standing in the center of the Buffalo Sabres locker room surrounded by cameras and audio recorders,  Numminen could only laugh at the prospect of, yet again, playing hockey for his homeland in the summer.

"It's kind of funny when you're almost 40 and they're still calling about the World Championships," said Numminen of representing Finland.  "In 20 years, hopefully there's some young players coming up so that they don't have to call me."

Numminen can laugh because he knows the worst is in the past.  The nimble 39 year old - who will turn 40 on July 3 - endured a season of questions and unknown answers only to emerge with hope for the future.

Numminen isn't just thinking about this summer or representing Finland again.  He's thinking about what sweater he'll be wearing during the 2008-09 season, and hoping, that it has something to do with the Buffalo Sabres.

"I really don't know yet but I think I can still play," said Numminen regarding a return to the NHL.

"Buffalo's been my home the last three years and we've really enjoyed ourselves here, so my number one option is to stay."

Numminen missed 81 of 82 games due to open heart surgery and the recovery process this season for the Sabres.  His only appearance came in a seemingly meaningless final contest against Boston.

The game had no impact on the Sabres playoff hopes, but it had a profound effect on Numminen.  It proved that he could release his fears of never skating again.

"The next day I realized how big that game was mentally and physically ... just to know that I'm back, I'm healthy and I can still do it," said Numminen, who played 16:03, fired one shot on net and blocked two shots in Buffalo's 3-0 victory in the TD Banknorth Garden.

"This is what I do and this is what I enjoy.  If you don't have that passion, there is no way you could do it for this long.  I care about the game, like the game and I enjoy myself.  It's still just a fun game for me."

As for the World Championships, which open May 2 in Quebec City, QC and Halifax, NS, Numminen says he'll take some time to mull the decision over.

Two weeks in training camp before another two week tournament isn't an easy thing to do while lugging around three kids.  Remember, Teppo isn't 35 anymore.

It's going to be a tough decision.

But Numminen is glad that it's one he gets to make.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82