Let me say, for the record, I'm mostly on Darcy's side here since that seems to be what all of Buffalo is talking about right now. I think we can all agree that the non-negotiating during the season needs to stop and yes, it might be nice if the team would think about extending contracts before they actually expire. But Daniel Briere and Chris Drury both got ridiculous contracts and while we maybe could've afforded to keep one of them at that price, it seems pretty apparent they wanted to both stay or both leave. (Which begs the question, why so insistent on playing here together while being perfectly fine playing elsewhere separately, fellas?) In the end, it seems like the Sabres didn't really want to go all out to keep Danny and Chris didn't really want to stay that much. And while it stinks to lose so much leadership in one day, it would also stink to have too much money wrapped into Briere and Drury when it comes time to renew guys like Vanek and Miller. There comes a point where you have to decide where you want to put the money and I can't really fault the Sabres for not going to ridiculous lengths to keep both guys in the fold. And for the record, I'm not believing for a second that Danny would've accepted 5 million in January no matter what he or anyone else says. He wanted a raise and he got it.
I am a little taken aback at just how much venom people are spitting at Darcy tonight. I know it was a disappointing day - Chris and Danny were important parts of the team and fan favorites - but geez, they're not exactly innocent here and I can't believe how many people are leaping to their defense. There are two arguments that seem to be coming up over and over that kill me:
One, the "These Guys Retire Young and Want to Set Up Their Families" argument. Please. At my currently salary, I'd have to work 299 years to make what Danny Briere made last season alone. If he can't take care of his family on the 25 million the Sabres offered him, I don't know what to tell you, he's an idiot. I'm not going to pretend I wouldn't go to the highest bidder if I were in the same situation, but if that's the case, I also probably wouldn't say, "I'd definitely take less to stay here."
Two, the "Darcy Didn't Make Them Feel Apppreciated" argument. Give me a break. It's a business - or so the athletes say when it suits them. What's he supposed to do, leave post-its in their lockers that say things like "Good job on that PK!" or "Congratulations on the hat trick!" My boss doesn't walk around patting me on the head all day - heck, I feel pretty safe in saying my boss has zero appreciation for the amount of work I do - and I still get up and go to work every morning. Eighteen thousand people stood up and applauded them after they lost game five of a series that consisted of some really crappy hockey including one of the most atrocious games I've ever had the displeasure of watching and they're not appreciated? Gimme a break. Oh, wait, I forgot. Fan appreciation clearly doesn't factor into these things.
By the way, I'm so glad we had the lockout so we could avoid big market teams sucking up all the free agents and raising the salaries to ridiculous prices. It's really working out well. I'm glad the Sabres have a smart, fiscally responsible GM in Darcy, but it doesn't really do much good when almost every other GM in the league is an idiot.
More on all this later. I'm too tired and cranky to think straight right now.