Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

November 12, 2008

SCHMITT: Tallinder relishes rare night in the light

BUFFALO — With that long reach and smooth stride, you assume Henrik Tallinder has put up big offensive numbers. Somewhere. Maybe not in the NHL, where the goalies are big, the game is fast and the commitment to defense needs to be explicit, but at some point during his developmental years, Tallinder must’ve been a ringer, right?

As the ol’ phrase goes, looks can be deceiving. Scour back through the stat lines during Tallinder’s 13 years of pro hockey and you won’t find a single season with double-digit goals.

Not in Rochester. Not in Buffalo.

Heck, not even with the Swedish team AIK, where Tallinder spent four seasons as an up-and-coming forward. Up-and-coming aside from the fact he never had a nose for the net.

In 121 games with AIK — most played up front — Tallinder never scored a single goal.

Not one.

And he hasn’t fared much better since jumping to the big pond, lighting the lamp just 16 times in seven seasons with Buffalo.

So when one finally finds twine, as Tallinder’s shot 3:34 into the third period did, you can bet there’s plenty of celebration bottled up that needs to be released. That’s exactly what happened when motors Daniel Paille and Paul Gaustad created traffic and Tallinder’s shot sailed past Chris Mason for what proved to be the winner in Buffalo’s 4-3 mini-slump snapper Wednesday.

It’s not that Tallinder doesn’t want to be that guy. He just never has.

And when days like Wednesday come along, he’s more than ready to grab the limelight.

“Oh my God, every night I’d like to do that,” Tallinder said after his first of the season — and just the second in his last 120 games. “I wish it always happened. But I have never been the type of guy who scores. Ever.”

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