Tuesday, July 3, 2007

There Ain't No Good Guy, There Ain't No Bad Guy

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."


Kate said...

Heather, make it stop. *whimper*

Heather B. said...

Kate, believe me, I wish I could. I just want to knock heads together and gag people at this point. Shut.up. SHUT UP!

Geez, you picked the worst season ever to become a Buffalo sports fan. The good news is, if you survive it, I'll think you'll live through pretty much anything else.

Kate said...

This is so incredibly depressing, Heather. I honestly feel like the city is devouring itself at this point. I SO want to root for Buffalo (and I'm not talking about sports here), but this is just....foul. Now, there is not a single person on either side of this that I believe in. Drury, Briere, Quinn, Regier, they are all just icky, and confusing. I am...just genuinely depressed now.

I just wish we had signed Drury. That stupid RANGER. Whatevs.

The good new is, I can't wait for opening night. It'll be so fun. Do you think the guys will just let us sit on the bench with them? I mean, why not, right?

The other thing that is keeping my spirits buoyed is Crunchy's cranky quote in the paper this morning. I tell you, that kid has our number. He totally knew what was going on here, and he totally said the right thing. Fuck 'em. I am also really in the mood to just shift into "there was something wrong in the locker room that we don't know about" mode, and Miller's curt dismissal of losing the captains helps me to get into that mindset. Maybe those two guys JUST DIDN'T LOVE US ENOUGH. Screw them.

I just really really really really don't want this all to be a huge management mistake, and I really really really don't want it to be true that we will never keep star players. I want to love again, but now I'm scared.

Heather B. said...

I know, this whole thing just sucks from top to bottom. I will say this. Darcy Regier usually comes across as a bit of an automaton in interviews and yesterday, to me, he looked and sounded completely defeated and upset. If this was a mistake on management's part, and he has any control, I think things will be handled differently in the future. I think he's absolutely sincere when he says that he's disappointed and would like to avoid being in this situation ever again.

I have to admit, I'm intrigued by the rumor that some of the guys in the lockerroom took umbrage to Chris putting Danny over them. I think it could explain a lot of the self-destruction in the post-season. It would be tough to accept leadership from someone you didn't feel was appreciating you. There's a group of guys - Campbell, Vanek, Roy, Miller, Gaustad, Pominville - that came up through the Sabres system together and seem very close-knit (Mair and Connolly were traded here but seem tight with that group too) and I find it interesting that most of their quotes about the captains' departure have been... not dismissive exactly... but more along the lines of, "We'll manage." I know it's ALL rumors and speculation but it's interesting.

But yes, the city as a whole needs to chill the hell out, pronto.

Good thing we have that home opener to look forward to. I don't see why we can't sit on the bench, you know? :-)

Kate said...

Can I just say how much I am loving Adam Mair these days? He might be my new hockey boyfriend. I don't find him super attractive, but he seems to be able to sooth my fretful heart, and that's really saying a lot.

Once I meet them all at the home opener, I'll have an easier time choosing my ex-S,PW's replacement. The thing I really like about Mair is he kind of has the S,PW thing, but he also you know, smiles every once in awhile. Plus, he has already proven his love to us.

I am sorry to clutter up your once perfectly respectable hockey blog with comments about my thought process in choosing my new hockey boyfriend.

To Heather's other readers: This isn't her fault. She's just being kind to me, a scorned and heartbroken Drury lover. Unlike me, Heather's a totally legit hockey expert.

Heather B. said...

Kate, it's okay! I'm glad I can help get you through these troubled times.

I love Adam Mair. I'll go through phases where I'm annoyed at him for just not being able to get the puck in the net, but he always plays hard and he seems like such a good guy. Plus he's a lighter-haired version of the boy I had a huge crush on all the way through high school. It's startling really. He would be a more than acceptable choice for your new S,PW and hey, atleast you know he'll be around for 3 more years ;-)

brian s. said...

I went to the New Years Day game the season after the lock out when all the players signed autographs and met with the fans after the game. That night, I met Tallinder, Paille, Miller, and Mair. All four of them seemed very happy to be playing and interacting with the people who pay to watch them. (And yes, I will admit to having a man-crush on Mair and Tallinder after meeting them, but that's besides the point). All four of them, plus Campbell and Gaustad seem like they'll be the leaders of this team for years to come. I am already impressed with the way Mair and Miller have come out and already have a chip on their shoulder because of what the fans and media are saying. I think if it was up to them, and me, the season would start tomorrow so they can go out and prove to everyone how there were more than the two captains on the team.

Kate said...

See? Even Brian can endorse Adam Mair as my new Sabres boyfriend.

I am so pumped to see these guys all feisty and ready to prove themselves, pissed from the drama Buffalo has created in the wake of UFA-gate. Sure, it was fun having the captains around, but this team next year? They are more our style. Charming underdogs with a chip on their shoulder. Hell yeah!