Starting tomorrow, Top Shelf is a Buffalo News-free zone, excluding Sabres Edge as long as I can read it while avoiding Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan. I did this once before and it was so nice that I'm not sure why I went back to reading TBN in the first place. I've completely had my fill. But let's go out with a bang, shall we?
Today we were treated to the Chris Drury column that was so effin' predictable that Kevin at Bfloblog called it last night. I'm going to do this the Fire Joe Morgan way because there's a whole lot of stupid in this column.
Drury received a mix between cheers and jeers when he was introduced before the Rangers’ 4-3 victory, confirming certain fans comprehended the impact Drury had in Buffalo while many others didn’t have a clue. Then again, the same divide exists between the dressing room and the owner’s suite.
One group gets it, and the other never will.
First of all, enough with the "fans who boo don't understand what Chris Drury meant" garbage. We get it, Bucky, and you are such a condescending little prick to suggest that we, the fans of Buffalo, do not get or appreciate Chris Drury. We cheered for him every single night he wore a Buffalo uniform. We loved him and embraced him and wanted desperately for him to be the guy to bring a Stanley Cup to Buffalo. We made his jersey one of the best-selling jerseys in the NHL. We appreciated all the little things he did on the ice to contribute to wins. We understand how he influenced the players who are still here. We know he's a nice guy. But we also understand that he was here for three years and that he now plays for another team. Fans are not obligated to cheer for players on the other side. Fans are not obligated to think logically and objectively. Fans can cheer or boo as they see fit and for many, many fans it really only comes down to, "What jersey is he wearing? Oh, right, not ours."
Second of all, enough with the "managment doesn't get it" garbage. Larry Quinn said it was a mistake to let Chris Drury go. Darcy Regier said it was a mistake to let Chris Drury go, looked devastated when it happened, and admitted that the team wouldn't be as competitive without him. Management signed Jochen Hecht to a long-term deal during the season. Management started negotiating with Brian Campbell when they could and did so right up until he brought a halt to talks and have since started negotiating with him again. I'm not even going to touch how stupid it is to put Brian Campbell's ridiculous contract demands in the same grouping as Drury and Daniel Briere.
But because he didn’t bow to management after they mishandled his contract last season, a good many fans roasted him every time he touched the puck.
That is probably why some people booed him. And you know what? That's their right as a fan. That is not however why everyone booed him. Some people booed him because he's not a Sabre. Some people booed him because he's a Ranger. Some people booed him because he's overpaid and - whether you like it or not - underachieving. Some people booed him because they think he didn't appreciate how much his teammates in Buffalo contributed to his game. Some people booed because they felt like he didn't love us the way we loved him. Some people booed him because they like to boo. I feel pretty safe in suggesting that most people's booing did not have anything to do with player vs. management.
To review, again, Drury agreed to a four-year contract worth $21.5 million, splitting the difference between the Sabres’ offer and his proposal. He grew tired of waiting for management to finalize the deal, the market changed and he decided to hit the road. Basically, the Sabres could have had him at a discount and let him get away.
To review, we don't really need the review because you haven't let us forget this yet. To review, everyone agrees that it was a mistake to let Chris Drury go. What's your point?
If fans wanted to boo someone, they should have started with owner Tom Golisano and managing partner Larry Quinn. They created the Drury mess, and they spent months manipulating the truth. It’w amazing how people continue swallowing the company line.
It's not swallowing the company line. It's moving on. It's realizing that no matter how many times you write this article, Chris Drury is not going to magically reappear in a Sabres uniform. It's choosing to cheer for the team on the ice in front of us even though it lost important pieces. It's waiting to see if management handles the next important piece - that would be Ryan Miller, not Brian Campbell - differently.
Golisano confirmed his ignorance on the radio recently when he referenced Drury’s plus-minus rating this season, a subtle hint the center was struggling. If he had a shred of hockey knowledge, he have known Drury spent half the year shuffling between lines, switching positions and trying to appease high-maintenance winger Jaromir Jagr.
I cannot believe this. I cannot believe that the columnist who has refused to make any excuses for the Sabres - age, new roles, different responsibilities, line changes, injuries - is making excuses for a guy who is not even on the team anymore. Are you fucking kidding me? Bucky, let me break this down for you. CHRIS DRURY HAS STRUGGLED! CHRIS DRURY HAS NOT LIVED UP TO A 7 MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT! Jaromir Jagr being high-maintenance is not exactly news. This is not a surprise. I'm pretty sure Drury should have factored this into his decision to play for the Rangers. I'm pretty sure that's not a good excuse. If Derek Roy said, "It's tough to play with Max because he's hard to predict and all over the place," what would you say?
I also cannot believe that Bucky Gleason - who last year said that Derek Roy had maxed out at age 23 and wouldn't be worth his contract and had him being re-signed for under a million dollars in his "How I Would Handle the Team" article (real good understanding of the NHL market, Buckster) - is calling into question the hockey knowledge of someone who has admitted time and time again that he doesn't really know that much about hockey. I don't know about you guys, but I'm reeeeally impressed.
Drury is a minus-9. Funny, it never bothered Golisano when he was minus-11 two years ago while leading the Sabres into the conference finals and filling the owner’s pockets.
Right. Because then he was a Sabre. Now he's not. Owner likes player better when he's making him money! Whoa, somebody alert the media because that is some breaking news right there!
Drury and Campbell had dinner Friday night at Tempo, an upscale restaurant in Allentown. They didn’t discuss how Campbell’s persistent contract problems, but you can bet Campbell learned a thing or two while watching Drury’s situation unfold last season.
Hopefully he learned that it's really hard to live up to an insane contract. That sometimes your teammates make you as much as you make them. That the love of a city is fickle and not based on things like logic and objectivity. That big market teams with lots of big names are not necessarily more competitive than smaller market teams with a bunch of complementary pieces. That there is some value in playing with guys you know inside and out on the ice and off.
Probably he just learned that MANAGEMENT IS EVIL FOR NOT MEETING HIS DEMANDS.
We’ll see what happens. Don’t be surprised if you see Campbell follow his former captain one more time, right out the door.
Great. Because Campbell is not worth a penny over five million dollars and the Sabres defense will probably be okay without him in the end. We could use that money to insure that Miller, Jason Pominville, and Paul Gaustad stick around for a while. What? That wasn't your point? Oh, right. THAT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE STUPID!
P.S. to Bucky: Jay Pandolfo, Selke nominee and one of the most important interchangeable parts of the New Jersey Devils, is a UFA at the end of this season and currently unsigned - along with three other guys - so maybe you should do a quick internet search before you make loud declarations like THE DEVILS HAVE SIGNED EVERYONE EVER.