My husband emailed me a rumor that he found on a Sabres message board earlier today. Now I didn't read this particular board even when I was reading them, but I went to take a look at it and it seems that this poster is pretty well respected and has shown himself to be reliable in the past. If you want to read the whole rumor - it's quite a lengthy story - go here. But here's the short version: Michael Peca wants to come back to Buffalo. Larry Quinn and Lindy Ruff want him to come back. Lindy wants to make him the captain. Darcy Regier is reluctant but willing to consider it after a conversation with Peca. Also, Jay McKee desperately wants to come back to Buffalo. It's unclear if the Blues are down with the idea of dealing him, but McKee and his agent are trying to move something along, possibly involving Spacek. I was interested enough to take a look at the thread despite my ban - the things a girl does for love - and I was fascinated to find that posters were almost overwhelmingly in favor of both guys coming back. So what do I think?
I think you're all nuts.
You guys do realize that Peca didn't leave Buffalo last season, right? He's put a lot of wear and tear on his not-very-big body since he last wore a Sabres jersey. Maybe he fills some of the holes Drury leaves. He can kill penalties, he can play on a defensive line and occasionally chip in some offense. He definitely brings a toughness to the ice that most of our forwards are currently lacking. But if you think you're going to get vintage Captain Crunch - and that's what most posters seem to be dreaming of - I'm sorry, you're in for a disappointment in my opinion. Speaking of which, I really hope the part about Lindy making Peca the captain is crap. I know Peca has a history with the organization and with Ruff, but he means nothing to the players in the room now. Campbell, Kalinin, and Afinogenov played a handful of games with him combined. That's it. Why should a group that's played together for quite a few years now between Rochester and Buffalo be expected to suddenly take leadership from a guy who's just coming into town? And what's wrong with Ol' Man Numminen who is a veteran, a leader, and oh yeah, has a relationship with everyone in the room already? And this isn't even mentioning that Peca hasn't played since seriously breaking his leg in Toronto.
And Jay McKee... I think I've made it pretty clear in the three months or so that I've been writing this blog how I feel about Jay. I love him. I was devastated when he signed with St. Louis last summer. I believed until the bitter end that he would remain in Buffalo. Sentimentally speaking I would love for him to come back and retire a Sabre. I would love to look back in ten years and say, "Hey, remember that year Jay was in St. Louis? Me neither!" I really, really, really would. But even with my desperate love of all things McKee, I was able to look at his 4 yr/16 million dollar contract and say, "Holy crap, what are they smoking in St. Louis?" And most people seemed to agree with that. How has a deal that looked so ridiculous a year ago become something we should absolutely do for the good of the Sabres, the fans, and Buffalo's very existence? I know Jaroslav Spacek was a bit of a disappointment especially with all the hype he got coming into town, but was he really so bad that we should throw him over for a guy who gets paid MORE and played way, way LESS? Let me point out yet again that Jay McKee only played in 23 games last season. Twenty-three! You know there are 82 games in a season, right? Granted, he was totally snake-bitten last season. And for the sake of argument, I'll overlook broken fingers and stuff like that. Those kinds of injuries happen over the course of a hockey career, particularly when you're a defense who throws yourself in front of slapshots. But hip problems? Knee problems on top of all the knee problems he's already had? Those things are much more worrisome. Look, Jay had a fabulous 2005-2006 season. He stayed pretty healty and he worked really hard to make himself valuable in a post-lockout game that didn't exactly favor his skill set. But the two years before the lockout he played in 43 and 59 games and I don't know that, logically speaking, you can look at that great season while overlooking past concerns about his injury history especially at his price.
I understand where people are coming from. Fans are heart-broken about losing a couple of fan favorites in Drury and Briere and there's a lot of sentiment wrapped up in Peca and McKee. They both had some great moments here and they were both warriors and leaders on their teams. But these really strike me as deals that seem like a good idea now, here in the off-season but wouldn't look so good once it's time to play hockey. I don't know, I could be wrong. It happens once in a while.
In closing, I'll say this: If it's true that Jay wants to come back to Buffalo, I'm delighted. I knew he'd miss me! I'll bet he'll be pretty devastated when he discovers that I've given my heart to another defensmen but hey, it's his fault. Never should've left in the first place, Jay.