Sunday, March 22, 2009

Never Again

I suppose the "Chris Drury and Danny Briere!" items were bound to start after this weekend. But come on. Can we at least be a little bit rational here? Can we not invest too much into a two game stretch? Drury has one goal and one assist against us in four games. His amazing tangibles had a talented Rangers team also fighting for a playoff spot and needing an infusion of heart and effort from Sean Avery. That's hardly a dominating performance against us or against the rest of the league. Even Briere, who completely kicked our ass on Friday, has only played one game against us and sixteen games against everyone else. Two players playing well against us doesn't make the rest of their season null and void. I understand we're talking about intangibles and leadership and stuff like that but this is ridiculous hyperbole:

Say what you want about their contracts, numbers and health -- it's irrelevant. All those things would be different if the Sabres had stepped up and kept them.

Really? Chris Drury would've repeated his 37 goal season these last two years if Buffalo had only kept him? Danny Briere would have remained healthy as a horse for the last two years if he were still playing in Buffalo's atmosphere? Because he never missed any time while he was here, right? Both guys would've ceased to age - something that last time I checked, does occasionally affect a pro athlete - if the Sabres had only manned up and kept them? Even though last I heard the Sabres did want to "step up" and match any and all offers Drury received?

I understand what John Vogl is saying in the linked blog and I don't disagree completely. A lot of leadership and character walked out with Drury and Briere - because let me remind you that said players did ultimately have control over where they ended up - and the Sabres didn't replace it. They thought they still had enough left in the room and it turns out they didn't. Clearly. But you can't have it both ways. You can't trumpet all the reasons the Sabres should have kept Drury and Briere while completely dismissing, in one thought that doesn't even make sense, all the reasons it might work out in the long run for them to have moved on from older guys with long-term contracts who have probably played their best seasons. Bucky Gleason is terrible about this in his chats. If someone wants to bring up how Drury and Briere are underachieving he very dismissively tells them to get over it, no one wants to talk about them anymore. But as soon as it fits his argument and the point he wants to make, who are we talking about? That's right, Drury and Briere.

Do the Sabres miss Drury and Briere? Yes, in many ways they do. Are they completely effed forever, to the point where we have to keep talking about these guys - both of whom have been pretty average since leaving Buffalo - like they would've been the saviors of the franchise? No, we do not. We don't. We really don't. I don't plan on ever doing it again.


amy said...

Amen! I'm getting tired of hearing about Briere and Drury. The media need to find a new crutch to stand on to explain the Sabres collapse. It's been two years. Move the heck on already!

ElmaGolf said...

Heather - what do you know? You're a woman and don't understand TESTOSTERONE!!!!

Hey! Excuses, get off my computer!

Sorry, Heather... BE must have found my password.

Couldn't agree with you more on this post. I have met John Vogl and he's actually a decent guy and a genuine fan. I was introduced to him last summer at the Porter Cup Media Day when I introduced myself to Sully. His reaction? "Hey, Vogl! You've got to meet ElmaGolf!" He even remembered me when I ran into him at Foo Fighters concert in Rochester.

I think you're seeing his Fandom and personal feelings for Drury severely cloud his reporting judgment.

Obviously, he & Bucky have GroupThink about the "You Don't Know What They Would Have Done Here" defense. With Drury, I'll meet them a fraction of the way, because there is quite a bit of chemistry involved with teammates and Drury leaving hurt both the Sabres and Drury.

But, last I checked, Jersey Colors and Linemates have little, if any, effect on groins. Does he realize that this would have only been year 3 of the mythical 5/$25 bargain (which is another loosely thrown around fallacy at TBN).

I suppose if we'd signed Briere at $5/25, perhaps we'd soon be talking right about Danny's fragility and how we lost the youth & heart of this team when Pommer was traded away. Even if Jason dropped to 15 goals for the Coyotes, I'm sure Bucky would tell us how "he certainly would have had another 30 goal season if he'd stayed here."

Frankly, what p!sses me off the most is that "reporters" use stupid statements like these to feed off the low hanging fruit of everyone's bitterness. The hindsight and hypocrisy sacrifice their credibility, all for the sake of getting people riled up.

When you look at the recent "I told you so" reporting at TBN from a 2 game sample and compare it to the "critical, but logical" commentary from Paul Hamilton, the print guys come off looking like a bunch of hacks.

Heather B. said...

Elma, I like Vogl very much but he's been blogging all weekend like a fan. Even before the Rangers game he was asking, "Is there any doubt Chris Drury is going to make us pay tomorrow?" Well, let's see... In the first three games against the Rangers he had one assist and was a minus so yes, John, I think there is some doubt.

Obviously, he & Bucky have GroupThink about the "You Don't Know What They Would Have Done Here" defense.

No, I don't know what they would've done here. Just like you don't know what they would've done here. You don't know what kind of stats they'd be putting up, you don't know how getting older would've affected them, you don't know if their bodies would've held up, you don't know if they would've continued to mesh with the team here since some players certainly would've had to have been moved to make room for them, you don't know if the players still here would've continued to follow their lead or started to tune them out eventually. You don't know and since they're not here anymore IT DOES NOT MATTER! The team sucks. It has huge holes. Let's talk about how to fix them now please instead of sitting around talking about The Sabres Team That Might Have Been.

Mark B said...

Your point are very well made, but I've found myself for the first time in two years wondering "What If" just like the Buffalo News guys.

I guess two years of supporting and defending these bunch of underachievers has been worn me down.

I think if any criticism can be leveled at Sabres management, maybe it was having all but 2 players with one year deals going into 05-06? I know they wanted to gauge where their team was at since we hadn't won anything yet, but that probably cost us a few players. Darcy had to make a lot of tough decisions on many players before 06-07 and it may have cost us toughness and heart. But in hindsight I can't blame him for giving contracts to the more skilled younger guys (Tallinder, Max, Kotalik) over players like Mckee and Dumont. That was the direction the league seemed to be going at that point. But that commitment of money probably cost us a few players. Maybe if there was a few more contracts that were even a somewhat long term in 05-06, he would have had more time to see what direction the league was starting to go (back to trap style) and he would dumped a few of the finesse players.

Wow, that was rambly. I just don't know. It sucks. It doesn't help that it's so hard to cheer for the players on the team now. And most of the players that have left us were immensely popular.

Heather B. said...

Your point are very well made, but I've found myself for the first time in two years wondering "What If" just like the Buffalo News guys.

I think it's perfectly okay and natural for you and other fans to wonder "What If" especially since we're stuck watching a really heartless, losing team. (Although I do wish you'd all just get over it already :P) I guess part of my problem is that I feel like the MSM should be above that. They've been playing the "What If" game for two years and it doesn't serve any purpose especially since every single person in management has acknowledged that mistakes were made. Kate said in a conversation we were having earlier about the particular line I quoted in the post that TBN is blurring the line between journalism and fan blogging here and I completely agree.

Just to be clear, I think mistakes have been made. I think management misjudged where the league was going to go, although I will point out that by letting Briere go the Sabres WERE letting a finesse player go. I think they have a lot of improvements and corrections to do in order to make this roster a successful one. But again, LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW TO DO THAT. Drury and Briere ain't coming back and you know what, at this point they shouldn't. That ship has sailed.

Katebits said...

That ship has sailed.

Totally. We should be talking about canning Lindy now.

Heather B. said...

Totally. We should be talking about canning Lindy now.

I would MUCH rather talk about canning Lindy than Drury and Briere. Are you happy now? :P

Katebits said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee Andrew said...

Even if Briere and Drury did play well against the Sabres it wouldn't matter. They wouldn't get to play against the Sabres if they are on the Sabres.

I do like playing the What If game. I used to love those What If comics that Marvel did. Because WHAT IF the Incredible Hulk did kill all the X-Men???? No Wolverine in anything! Man that would be a great world.

Mark B said...

I agree that Vogl seemed to cross the line from impartial beat reporter to fan this weekend. He's usually pretty good, though, so perhaps even when your just covering a team, losing gets old.

It's crazy when Bucky sounds like the reasonable one at TBN based on his last couple columns.

ElmaGolf said...

That was the direction the league seemed to be going at that point. But that commitment of money probably cost us a few players.

Mark, I agree. My critical thoughts about Regier are tempered by my anger at the NHL for pulling a "bait & switch" on the fans with some exciting hockey for 1.5 seasons. Now we're stuck with players more suited to an open game, while Lindy is trying to force a "system" that requires more conservatism and endless wall battles.

It's crazy when Bucky sounds like the reasonable one at TBN based on his last couple columns.

I guess Bucky may be worried about his "this team is two years from being really good" comment coming back at him, so they left the critical venting up to John.