I like Darcy Regier immensely, and even Larry Quinn doesn't bother me much, so it probably won't surprise anyone to hear that I have a mostly favorable impression of this morning's press conference. Yes, the plan was vague, but it has to be at this point. The season isn't over. No one knows who's going to be on available on the trade market or who's going to be demanding what on the free agent market.
I think it was clear that the three guys on the stage were disappointed with how things turned out - Lindy in particular appeared to have not quite shaken the season loose yet - and I also think it was clear that they know where the shortcomings lie. One thing I've always appreciated about Darcy is that he doesn't pander. He doesn't make huge, bold declarations about all the free agents he's going to sign and all the fancy trades he's going to make. He's realistic and he's not afraid to be that way even though it's not what fans want to hear. I know there are probably fans somewhere who were unhappy about things said but what are you going to argue with really? The biggest team in the NHL (the Caps) is out of the playoffs, one of the most determined and successful teams of the last decade (the Red Wings) doesn't have much size. Most teams that have a really gifted number one center were bad enough to get a lottery pick. Teams don't trade away large, skilled top line centers or offensively gifted defensemen, not often enough that picking one up is as easy as wishing it into existence. For all his faults - and he does have them - Darcy has his head on straight and has a good understanding of the league. I respect and appreciate that.
I am a little disappointed that it sounds like they're going to be more willing to cut loose Drew Stafford or Tim Connolly than Derek Roy. I won't go on about all the things I dislike about Roy because I think that's been pretty well established, but I feel like he'd be an example of addition by subtraction. This also speaks to one of Darcy's problems: he sometimes hangs on to his babies too long. Of the three players mentioned above, Roy is probably the most valuable on the trade market. He's productive, he's clearly talented, and he has a very favorable contract with multiple years left on it. For a team that already has a number one center, he'd be a very good fit. I feel like we've kept Stafford and Connolly just long enough for other GMs to catch on to how disappointing they could end up being (Stafford more so than Connolly who, all things considered, had a mostly fine regular season). But hey, I've certainly been surprised by the level of stupidity found in GMs before.
I actually thought the only goat of the presser was Bucky Gleason. I don't want to turn this into a Bucky screed after doing a pretty good job of ignoring him all season, but I thought it was pretty stupid of him to waste part of the press conference asking why they never had a press conference last season. First of all, we could all guess the answer to that. (They were embarrassed, they were chicken, they were angry, some combination of those.) Second of all, it was a freakin' year ago. Jeez. They were in middle of a press conference that, in my opinion at least, was pretty high on honesty and pretty low on B.S. Everyone involved said, and more importantly, looked and sounded disappointed and let down. The only reason anyone asks that question right then is because he's a self-centered a-hole who wanted to embarrass someone. I'm sure Bucky would tell you he was doing it for the people but come on, most of the people have forgotten about last year's press conference at this point. Certain writers at TBN have opined on blogs and in chats that Tom Golisano is too thin-skinned and holds grudges and while that certainly appears to be true, I think there are people in TBN's sports department who have that in common with him and unfortunately for them, it often makes me question the objectivity in some of their work.
Anyway, who's everyone cheering for now that our beloved Sabres are out? I think I hate everyone left in the Eastern Conference for one reason or another. (The one team I don't really hate is Pittsburgh but I want something other than Pittsburgh-Detroit this year.) I'm still feeling out the Western Conference. I briefly flirted with the idea of cheering for San Jose but then Dany Heatley scored, reminding me that he still exists. It didn't feel quite right after that. Maybe Chicago. Crazily enough considering some of the posts I wrote after his departure, I've decided I might want Brian Campbell to win a Stanley Cup. I don't know. My temporary affection is still up in the air.