I've posted every day this month, twice yesterday! I'm on a roll!
Since this is a Sabres blog I suppose I'm obligated to comment on this story in today's Buffalo News. I find this... hard to believe to say the least. I can understand why people feel like management bungled negoitaions with Briere and Drury and yes, both situations probably could've been handled better regardless of the team's intentions with each guys. But Darcy Regier and Larry Quinn are, if nothing else, great businessmen. They reached an agreement with their top priority free agent and somehow overlooked making that contract formal? Sorry, I'm going to need more than an anonymous source on that one, guys. I'll believe elements of the story are true, but I'm not going to believe it's quite as straight-forward as it's being presented here.
It would help if this weren't the Buffalo News. They beat the "management is stupid!" drum so loudly and so repeatedly that I'm at the point where I disregard pretty much everything they say about Regier and Quinn. Regier has put together a stretch of quality hockey, consisting of some of the best talent in the league, and the News has never given him any credit for that. Everything he does is criticized from one angle or another - heck, the guy was criticized for being too honest to use Connolly and Afinogenov's IR status to his advantage even though what was being suggested was technically against league rules. The Buffalo News hasn't shown itself to be exactly unbiased when it comes to Sabres management so I'm not going to automatically buy what they're selling in this case. And for the record, journalistically speaking, there are a couple of things that bother me about the story. One, even I learned in a year and a half of journalism school that reporters really should get a source and then another source to back that one up before running with a story. And two, the story uses quotes from Chris Drury that are clearly about the situation in June and spins them to appear as if he's talking about last fall. That's cheap and irresponsible.
Here's the bottom line as I see it. This thing has totally spiraled. Everyone wants to find someone to blame, someone to turn into the bad guy and I'm just not sure there really is a bad guy here. Everyone was right, everyone was wrong. Everyone wanted something and didn't get it. Drury and Briere are gone, they're not coming back, let's move on and focus on the guys who are still here because one thing Darcy isn't wrong about is that there's still an excellent group of young talent in Buffalo. And honestly, part of me can't believe we're this upset about missing out on the chance to pay a guy who has averaged 23 goals and 58 points over the course of his career 7 million dollars. I understand that there are other things Drury brings to the ice and the lockerroom but that's a lot of dough.
To quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."