(Programming note: This is the second entry I've posted in the last 12 hours or so so make sure you read both of them. The first one was just odds and ends but there's some interesting stuff in there, I think.)
“All that [contract talk] is in the past. It’s almost February now. I’ve moved on. Danny [Briere] has moved on. The Sabres have moved on. And I think that’s how it should be. There’s not much of a story there anymore and no reason for me to bring up the past.”
- Chris Drury in the Buffalo News
Chris, we are in complete and total agreement. I don't think there's anything left to say about Chris Drury that hasn't already been said a bajillion times. I was tired of Chris Drury by July 3rd. It's 11:19 a.m. as I write this and I'm tired of him today. I have nothing to say about his rumored contract, his halt to negotiations, and what happened that fateful day he decided to become a Ranger. A handful of people were involved and I don't think any of those people, as much as I respect some of them, are above making themselves look a little better in the re-telling of events. It's human nature. Nobody on the outside really knows what happened and at this point, we're all saying the same things over and over and over.
I will say this: I'm a little surprised at how much backlash Chris has gotten about the whole "I always wanted to play for the Rangers" thing. A recent article in Boston University's alumni magazine seems to have really pushed some people over the edge. Message board dwellers - I know, always a calm and rational group - are going crazy about how Chris misled Sabres management and turned his back on Buffalo fans. I get the idea of feeling discarded and I know it's disappointing to feel like Chris Drury never really fell in love with us the way we fell in love with him, but come on, what do you really expect the guy to do? Walk into Darcy Regier's office and say, "I really like it here but if the Rangers come calling I'm gone?" What happens if the Rangers don't make him an offer? He's damaged his relationship with the team he plays for. I don't know. As I said, I'm tired of Chris Drury, but the childhood dream is the one thing that actually makes the whole thing a little bearable for me. I mean, it's the Rangers and they're totally disgusting, but I get it. Until I was fifteen or sixteen years old, I would've told you that I was going to catch for the Pittsburgh Pirates. (That's right, not only was I going to be a woman in the Majors, I was going to play the toughest position on the field.) Even though I grew up in Birmingham, I had (and have) quite an emotional attachment to Pittsburgh. I was born there, my parents were both born and raised there. Most of my extended family lived there. Ninety-eight percent of our out-of-town trips were to Pittsburgh. One of the most clear childhood memories I have is coming over the bridge into Pittsburgh late at night and seeing all the bridges and stadiums and buildings lit up. Andy Van Slyke was my childhood hero and I know I'll never love another athlete the way I loved him. There's something sweet and magical about the team and players you loved as a kid and even if you understand the sport better as an adult, you'll never feel the same way. The Pirates are one of the most poorly run sports franchises right now - Sabres fans, you got nothing on Pirates fans - but there's still a little piece of attachment, an eternal hope that they'll turn things around, a part of me that looks at the current disaster of a team and still sees the 1992 team that I adored. Even now at age 30, totally out-of-shape, fast-pitch days long behind me, thinking about that little girl who just knew she was going to wear black and gold some day makes me grin and feel all warm and gooey inside. If I were actually in the position to make that dream come true? Heck, yeah, I'd take it. I also know that even though he wasn't really in Buffalo that long, Chris Drury will be many Buffalo kids' Andy Van Slyke. He'll be the athlete they always love in a special, untouchable way and he'll be the reason they fell in love with hockey and the Sabres. And for that, I have to be grateful.
Sentimentality aside however, Chris Drury is no longer a Sabre. No matter how much people harp on what did or did not happen, he's not going to be a Sabre again. He's making an absurd amount of money for someone who puts up the points he does. (I know, I know.. Intangibles!) The Buffalo Sabres won exactly zero Stanley Cups while he was here. Last year's Drury-led team - him included - desperately underachieved in the playoffs and only got as far as it did because of Ryan Miller. I hope the Rangers lose and lose miserably. I wish Chris no serious bodily harm tonight but I do hope he gets hit (legally) and hit hard. I hope he gets no points and finishes with a negative plus/minus. I hope Chris looks at Jaromir Jagr and Sean Avery and wonders what the heck he was thinking. And I hope he's really enjoying playing on a team that spent all its money on second line centers and none of its money on defense. Thanks for the memories, Dru!