(Blogger doesn't want to let me put in a title for some reason so just pretend the title area says BUCKY GLEASON SUCKS.)
Other blogs (Desperation Hockey and Bfloblog, just to name a couple) have already addressed this, probably better than I will. But I have to get this off my chest and hey, that's what blogs are for, right?
Bucky Gleason sucks. I mean, he really, really sucks.
It's bad enough that his columns are one-note. No matter what's happened, no matter how it came to be, it must be Darcy Regier's fault. No matter how good the team is, Regier could've made it better. No matter how much money a team threw at a player, Regier should've either thrown more or gotten him to agree to less. No matter why a player chose to leave Buffalo, Regier could have and should have stopped him. Bucky's been beating his anti-Sabres management drum loudly and repeatedly as long as I've been in Buffalo. Only he could take the lovely story of local boy Todd Marchant's day with the Stanley Cup and turn it into a lesson on how "real" organizations do things and why no Sabres player will ever, ever, ever get his day with the Cup, not in a million billion years.
But Gleason's behavior at the Sabres press conferences over the past week have solidified the fact that he's an idiot of the highest order. His "Is it possible I know something you don't?" was snotty and immature. His domination of the discussion coupled with him taking Regier to task for having the gall to interrupt him was unprofessional. Bucky, I hate to break it to you, but the press conference was not called so we could all listen to you talk. We don't care how you think Darcy Regier should run his team and we certainly don't care how you would do it if you were in charge.
And that leads to my biggest problem with Bucky Gleason. Maybe this would be somewhat acceptable behavior - somewhat - if it seemed like he had the slightest idea what he was talking about but he repeatedly shows that he's lacking in that area.
Bucky, negotiations are not just a GM making an offer. You don't just pick up the phone and say, "I've got a contract here for you, I'll send it right over." The player has to be open to negotiations, and guess what? Sometimes he's not. Sometimes, like Vanek, he knows there are other offers coming down the pike and he wants to see what they are. Sometimes he knows he's close to UFA status and he wants to see what other teams are willing to offer. Sometimes he knows he's just blossoming and doesn't want to commit to a long-term contract at a lower price. Players know what they're worth and what they're going to be worth and if they don't, their agents sure as heck do. There are many, many details that go into a negotiation and I don't know, something tells me Regier has more experience here than you.
Bucky, just because a guy tells you later that he would've signed back then for less money, doesn't make it so. I have no doubt that some players are sincere - or think they're sincere - when they say that, but it's awful easy for a guy to say, after he's signed a shiny, new contract somewhere else, that he would've taken less from his old team. Come on. Stop acting like players are sentimental and unselfish. They are, more often than not, looking out for number one.
Bucky, big names are not necessarily the best signings and I'm not sure you understand the players you're harping about. You can throw Sheldon Souray's physical stats around all you want, that's not going to make him something he's not. Despite his size, he's not a physical, gritty defenseman and you seem to be under the impression that he is. Heck, Bucky, some nights he's barely a defenseman. His shot is all over the place. He turns over the puck a lot. He doesn't carry the puck well. Maybe his willingness to shoot from the point helps the powerplay, but Souray doesn't bring much to the table that we don't already have. Bucky, if you were a GM your team would be the New York Rangers. "Oooh, I've heard of that guy. He MUST be good. Sign him up! The more expensive the better, right?"
Sekera deserves a spot on the Sabres over Teppo Numminen? Give me a break. Teppo's old, I get it. Why would you bring in a veteran player (which you seem insistent that we do since Drury and Briere evidently experienced the last two years all by themselves) who might not produce and might not mesh with the team when you have Numminen who you know will produce to a certain level and who the kids on the team respect if not flat out adore? I mean, have you listened to Brian Campbell talk about Teppo? It's adorable. And I don't know if you've been paying attention, but salaries have gone a little crazy over the past week or so. Two point six million for a little veteran presence, some continuity in the room, and a very dependable, if unspectacular, defenseman seems like a pretty a-okay deal to me.
Bucky, at some point the players have to play. Darcy Regier put an awesome team together last season, one that absolutely could've won the Stanley Cup. I don't know what happened in the postseason, but I do know one thing - Regier can't be blamed for the debacle that was Game 3 of the ECF, the worst of a string of lackluster efforts. But I suppose the players on your team would always, always play to the very best of their abilities.
Bucky, Darcy Regier has been the GM of the Sabres for ten years now. Despite the fact that he's in a small market and despite the fact that he works with a bunch of idiot GMs who are constantly shooting themselves in the feet and doing more harm to the market than good, he's put good team after good team on the ice. Larry Quinn said it today - there's only one team in the NHL that's made it to the conference finals more in that time period than the Sabres. In a market that's all over the place with players moving here and there, that's pretty impressive. Doesn't there come a point where even you have to admit Regier might have SOME idea what he's doing? The fact that you refuse to do so is the ultimate example of how little about hockey you really know.
In closing, Bucky Gleason sucks.