I was slowly awaking late this morning - okay, it might have been after noon - when Mark sat down on the end of the bed. "Psssst," he said, "You awake?" I thought I was until I heard what he said next. "You should read Bucky Gleason today. He said nice things about Darcy Regier." Surely I was still dreaming! My brain couldn't compute this! Had hell frozen over? Were pigs flying outside my bedroom window? How to explain his miraculous turn of events? Mark hasn't made a habit of lying to me but surely he was yanking my chain!
But no, he was was right. Bucky Gleason said nice things about Darcy Regier. Don't get me wrong, Bucky does manage to pass the blame along to someone else (Tom Golisano), but in the process he says Darcy is intelligent, professional, liked and respected around the league, and a good guy who more often than not, makes the right call when it comes to players. Well-done, Bucky. I'm proud of you!
One smallish criticism:
Bucky does, once again, harp on the Brian Campbell situation. He says that Campbell's agent made a pitch for 5 million for 5 years before the season that was rejected and still never touches the idea that maybe the Sabres just don't see that as a good deal. I understand what he's saying about Campbell's value on the open market. I have no doubt that if it gets to that point someone will offer him between 6 and 7 million dollars but I also know that team is going to be overpaying for what they'll get. Even 5 makes me nervous because while Soupy is very good at certain aspects of the game - carrying the puck, getting involved in the offense - he's not a good defensive player. He's not a terrible defensive player (usually) but he's not a good one and I don't know, I think that should come into play since he is a defenseman. Bucky also continues to ignore the fact that there's a salary cap in play here. If the Sabres give Campbell between 5 and 6 million, they have a lot of money wrapped up in three players (Vanek, Roy, and Campbell) and that's before Ryan Miller - who does deserve a big, fat deal - is re-signed. Again, you don't have to agree that Campbell is the one who should be tossed over to make room for everyone else, but maybe we could atleast address all the issues surrounding a large contract.
But all that said, it was nice to see something a little different from Bucky.
Also - and this isn't directed at Bucky so much as a general statment - I think it's time we started blaming the players atleast a little bit for how this season is going. I'm not going to argue that there aren't pieces missing or pieces that don't fit, but this team still has plenty of talent. They may not be a clear Cup contender but they should be in the playoff easy and they should be able to make some noise once they get there. Instead they're just floundering and a lot of nights it's because of a lack of effort over sixty minutes. If this team was busting its ass and still losing, maybe I could get more behind the idea of blaming management for putting together an over matched team but right now, I think the players deserve more blame. Darcy and Lindy can't make Thomas Vanek shoot the puck, Brian Campbell clear the crease, or Derek Roy hang on to the puck. They can't make guys crash the net or hustle after rebounds. The Bills were hardly a Super Bowl caliber team this season but they played hard, almost always leaving it all on the field, and that made them fun (if occasionally frustrating) to watch. Get it together, Sabres. Quit talking about what you need to do and do it. You're exhausting me.