Monday, February 4, 2008

Tom Golisano, You're Fired

So it would seem we have an ownership problem in Buffalo. I'll admit, I was slow to come around to this - I was distracted by the craptacular play I was watching on the ice - but it's true. Tom Golisano, who was always on TV at games last season, is suddenly nowhere to be found. He's not at games, he's not in Buffalo, he's not answering phone calls, he's fallen off the face of the hockey earth. Tom, it's been nice, I'm eternally grateful that you came along and helped keep the Sabres in Buffalo. Really, I am. But the time has come and I'm ready for you to move on. I've even picked out your placement...

Mark Cuban.

Let's go over this, okay?

1. Mark Cuban was interested in buying the Penguins back when they were having so much trouble. He's a Pittsburgh boy. Obviously, Buffalo isn't Pittsburgh, but I think the cities are similar in a lot of ways - largely blue collar, humble, a little on the defensive side. We're his people.

2. He likes to win. I'm sure he probably looks at teams as investments but the guy clearly wants to win games and championships. If that means spending money, he'll spend the money. He seems really upset by losing which is... not so much the case with Golisano and Ralph Wilson.

3. He'll trust his hockey people. He'll probably want to know what's going on and that's fine but he seems to trust his basketball people to do their thing. If he respects Darcy Regier and Darcy says, "This guy needs to be signed and this is what it's going to cost to do it," Cuban seems like the kind to say, "Okay, let's do it." (All right, I actually have no idea if this one is true or not. Let's just pretend it is.)

4. He communicates with fans. He puts his email address on the jumbotron at Mavericks games and then reads and replies to those emails. Tom Golisano is avoiding us and Ralph Wilson is disregarding us. I'm not sure Buffalo would even know what to do with an owner who actually shows some interest and appreciation in what fans think.

5. He does not avoid confrontation. Mark Cuban wouldn't avoid phone calls from the local sportswriters. In fact, the local sportswriters would probably find themselves wishing that HE would stop bothering THEM. Bucky Gleason wouldn't know what the heck hit him. And to take it a little wider, Cuban would drive Gary Bettman up the friggin' wall. If anyone can crack that "Everything's coming up roses!" attitude that Bettman has, it's Mark Cuban and god bless him for it, I say.

6. He would bring instant media coverage to the NHL. Who wouldn't want to see him hauling himself over the glass and sliding across the ice to yell at a linesman? Forget the cushy box suites. Cuban would be beside the bench, banging on the glass while wearing a Ryan Miller jersey. You're telling me ESPN wouldn't be all over that footage?

I have a good feeling about this, Mark. I don't know, you may be a nut job. But you're a rich, entertaining, sports loving nut job and that's good enough for me. Let's make this happen.

Mark Cuban, irate over a missed goalie interference call

More about other things later.

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