Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TIM KENNEDY TIM KENNEDY TIM KENNEDY TIM KENNEDY TIM KENNEDY TIM KENNEDY

I’m beginning to wonder if TBN’s columnists are getting a bonus every time they write the words “Tim Kennedy.” I’m trying very hard to ignore Bucky Gleason these days - TBN is obviously enamored with him so I’m not getting rid of him anytime soon - but now Jerry Sullivan is in on the act? Good lord.

You can read Sully’s column here but the main gist is that the Sabres aren’t playing with any passion or fire because they’ve been beaten down by how management treats the players. He cites them refusing to pay Teppo Numminen a few years ago after he failed his preseason physical, not calling Henrik Tallinder back after making their initial two year offer, and buying out Tim Kennedy.

Look, I’m not going to say that the Sabres front office is overflowing with people skills. Sometimes it’s like these guys have never interacted with other human beings. They bungled the Tim Kennedy thing. Darcy Regier saying, “Yeah, we can work with that,” one day and then waiving him the next day makes them look petty or at the very least, not that bright. But that’s what’s responsible for the lack of passion from the team? Come on. That’s stupid.

Here are a few responses to specific passages.

Try this: Give your all for the team, but don't dare challenge us at the bargaining table. God forbid a Sabre should be overpaid. If being paid beyond your achievements was cause for dismissal, they wouldn't be able to field a team.

Actually, now that I’ve put this passage in here, I think I misunderstood it the first time I read it. But I’ll leave it in just because it’s the perfect example of the double talk from TBN columnists that drives me batty. For months, Sully has talked incessantly about how overpaid guys like Connolly and Pominville and Gaustad are, but now that the Sabres have said, you know, we don’t want to pay that much for that guy, he’s having a sarcastic fit. Because hey, if you’re going to overpay everyone else why not overpay another guy?

While we’re on the subject of double talk, a huge part of the reason Bucky’s babbling about the Kennedy buyout has made me so crazy is because he’s been writing forever that the Sabres should buyout Connolly and Stafford. But as soon as they bought out Kennedy, he was indignant. “They’ve always said that they’d NEVER buy a player out and now they did! Harrumph!"

Clearly the issue here is that the Sabres overpaid the players Bucky and Sully didn’t want overpaid and put their foot down with one they didn’t care about. And when the Sabres did finally cut someone loose, they didn’t cut loose the players that Bucky and Sully wanted cut loose. If they’d bought out Stafford rather than Kennedy, Bucky would be applauding the change in M.O. Instead he’s being completely self-righteous about it. I’m sick of all this petty bullshit from the media AND the team. Sometimes I feel like the two sides are in a giant pissing match and I’m stuck in the middle.

Wait, where was I?

Of course, it's a lot easier to make an example of Kennedy than one of their soft, overpriced forwards. There was a clamor to shake up their top six forwards after last year's playoff failure. I advocated cutting ties with Tim Connolly. Instead, they kept the precious core intact. 

All of the soft, overpriced forwards - the core, more or less - have been coddled and overpaid by management. They have long-term contracts that involve big money regardless of offensive output, injury history or effort. But they’re underachieving because they don’t like how management is treating players? I’m not following the logic. Honestly, some of these guys should be on their knees thanking the lord for the Sabres. Is there a franchise anywhere as in love with its players as the Sabres have been with Pominville, Gaustand, Roy, Miller, Stafford, and Vanek?  I mean, I would be totally offended by that if I were Jason Pominville!

Has anyone considered that Myers' struggles might be a result of the Sabres not bringing back Henrik Tallinder, his defense partner last season?

Well, yes, Sully. I think most of us have. I, in fact, wondered if that would be a problem before it actually happened. But I doubt Tyler Myers is moping around the ice because Darcy didn’t call Hank back and say, “Hey, thanks for the years. Good luck.” He might miss Hank on the ice. He might be struggling because he's playing without his only NHL defensive partner. His play is not being affected by the Sabres lack of courtesy toward Hank, it’s being affected by having to learn to play with a new guy.  

I know I just wrote a blog a few days ago about hockey players being human beings with feelings, but I just find this idea that the Sabres are playing lackluster hockey because TIM FREAKING KENNEDY was cut to be ridiculous and nonsensical. Don’t get me wrong, the Sabres are playing pretty passionless hockey.  But this group of players kind of always has. It’s them, it’s what they are. End of story. Most of them are not self-starters, they don’t burn to play hockey the way truly great players do. They don’t seem to at least. It’s not because of phone call or contracts or buyouts, it’s just something missing inside of them. I don’t know how you fix that. But I’m pretty sure it’s not by sending Hank a thank-you note.

13 comments:

Heather B. said...

I got REALLY cranky while writing this. I think the solution is this: Fire EVERYONE. Golisano, Quinn, Regier, Ruff, AND Gleason. Let's start over from scratch. Sully can stay but only if he either never writes about hockey or checks in with Harrington first.

Phil said...

I want to give you a hug after reading that.

lefty824 said...

I couldn't agree more.

Katebits said...

I thought Jerry was talking complete nonsense today on the radio, particularly in regards to Tallinder. I love how TBN is constantly arguing that the Sabres are too in love with their players in one breath, and that they CONSTANTLY let guys walk out the door in the next. What if the Sabres had re-signed Hank, and Myers STILL struggled? We'd be stuck with Hank for FOUR YEARS for NOTHING. What if Myers pulls it together in the next few weeks? Is Jerry still going to be crying for Tallinder?

In some respects, I do kind of agree with Jerry that the way the Sabres treat their players is odd. Both Lydman and Mair said they never even got a call from Regier. That's weird, but it's NOT why the Sabres suck now. That might explain (in part) why the Sabres have such a difficult time attracting free agents, but it's definitely not why Tim Connolly can't score. I comPLETEly agree with you that the SOLE reason the Sabres don't play with more passion is that they're...not passionate. We need a new GM, and either all new players or a new coach. We do not particularly need Tim Kennedy or Henrik Tallinder.

I actually thought Bucky's most recent column was pretty good. At the very least it wasn't snide, which, for Bucky is a serious triumph.

Tim said...

I have to laugh a little bit when I hear players say "they never called me", because, come on, is Darcy really going to call up Adam Mair and say "come on Adam we want to give you this contract". No. Darcy (or one of his associates) is going to call Adam's agent, who knows what Adam wants, or what he/she thinks Adam wants, and is going to do the negotiating. So, when Adam says "they never called me", there are too many layers of indirection there for me to take that statement seriously. Who knows if Darcy actually tried to take care of business. Especially when you have guys like Tim Kennedy's agent who clearly don't know what they are doing or at the very least cannot always be trusted.

Kathleen said...

I think there's a bar or three in South Buffalo where Bucky is just so desperate to be thought of as one of the cool kids. This is his way of ingratiating himself ;)

As for Jerry, he should only be allowed to talk & write about baseball and maybe college basketball, if he's on his very best behavior. When it comes to hockey he's interested in nothing but being a killjoy.

Joe from NYC said...

I can't help but go back to what people have said outside the team have said about the Sabres. If players around the league know that this is a whacked organization, why wouldn't the players think the same.

2) There's a huge difference in overpaying Tim Connolly 4.5 million dollars than paying Tim Kennedy 200,000 more than he is worth. Plus, the Sabres have always preached about the youth being the foundation and didn't want to pay that. Not to mention, it's well documented that both transactions, TK and TC, were met with severe groans from within the NHL.

3) You may not like to hear this, but I find it ironic that most of the bloggers were smitten with TK just 6 months ago, hometown kid having a nice upside, then all of a sudden the Sabres buy him out and everyone is happy and commending Darcy (I'm overstating it, but I think I have a point)

4) Why the hell do the bloggers all hate TBN? Yes, I actually love the publication, mainly because I think the TV coverage is piss pour in the city and the radio coverage is completely biased and tries to impose its will that hockey is the greatest sport ever and craps on the NFL (Again, football is my passion, so I may be in the wrong forum). Bottom line: I think TBN is way better than any form of media in the city (next to all of our blogs)

Joe from NYC

Heather B. said...

When it comes to hockey he's interested in nothing but being a killjoy.

I don't even mind Sully being a killjoy here. I mean, let's be real. The Sabres freaking blow right now. About the only person you could say anything positive about is Derek Roy and Derek Roy is not going to win games by himself. But the criticism should make sense and I don't think this criticism does at all. I think it's pretty silly really.

Heather B. said...

Joe, I have no issue with the argument that people outside the organization think the Sabres are screwed up. But that's NOT what this column is about. This column is about the players who are here.

If the players Sully is complaining about feel mistreated by the Sabres, well, I hate to see what they'd feel like playing somewhere else. If the league groaned over Connolly's contract extension - and they probably did - that's MORE reason for Connolly to be happy with the Sabres. The team, for better or for worse, really went out on a limb for him. They said to everyone, "We believe in this guy. We think he's going to be healthy and productive." And he's going to be upset because they whacked Tim Kennedy? That makes NO sense to me. None.

Plus, the Sabres have always preached about the youth being the foundation and didn't want to pay that.

Right. And EVERYONE has complained about them loving their players too much and investing too much in young players. So they decide they don't want to invest in this one and NOW everyone is saying, "HOW DARE THEY CUT TIES WITH A YOUNG PLAYER!" It's stupid. If that's the way people are going to look at things, the Sabres are never going to be able to do anything right. Honestly, on the ice, do you think the Sabres are missing Tim Kennedy right now? Because I don't.

Heather B. said...

Had to break this up into two comments.

You may not like to hear this, but I find it ironic that most of the bloggers were smitten with TK just 6 months ago, hometown kid having a nice upside...

Joe, you've always said this and I've NEVER heard a fan or seen a blogger rave about Tim Kennedy the way you're implying. And come on. If you're going to get on FANS for changing their opinions as soon as reality isn't in keeping with their former opinions, let's hold the professionals to the same standards. People change their minds.

Bottom line: I think TBN is way better than any form of media in the city...

I agree completely. But I think that's like saying the Kansas City Royals are better than the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both teams are still really bad at playing baseball. (With a few small glimmers of hope.)

joe said...

My point is that everyone in the NHL thought the Teppo suspension and the TK buyout was bad business.

If those players think that way, why wouldn't the players in the locker room think that? TK was a popular guy, at least that's what Mike Grier said when they were teammates. If Grier, a guy who is a born leader took a liking to TK, then why wouldn't others in the locker room get annoyed with TK getting bought out.

People look at this sort of thing. Case in point, the New England Patriots are known to be a team that doesn't pay for high talented players and were ripped by players for that and when they lost players over the years, via trades or releases. It's well documented that some players hated the way they do business.

Now, I get your point in saying that this isn't the main reason for the Sabres sucking this year. But, Bucky and some reporters who have covered the team have noticed that the locker room is kind of dull these days and the energy isn't there.

2) I think you should read some of the publications in major cities. By comparison, you'd be surprised how TBN are better than some of the major cities papers.

Heather B. said...

My point is that everyone in the NHL thought the Teppo suspension and the TK buyout was bad business.

I agree especially regarding Teppo.

If those players think that way, why wouldn't the players in the locker room think that?

Because this management has been good to the players in question. They've paid them well, they've put a lot of faith in them, and they've stood by them when many franchises would have tried to move them.

If you wanted to argue that certain players are upset because slackers like Connolly and Stafford are still here, I could maybe buy that. But that's NOT the same thing as them being upset because Tim Kennedy is gone, Hank never got a thank you, and Teppo was suspended by the team. (And was so furious, btw, that he came back and played for the Sabres the following season.)

Now, I get your point in saying that this isn't the main reason for the Sabres sucking this year.

Then WHAT are we arguing about, Joe? :P The above is all I'm really saying. This column argues that the team is playing flat because of management. I think that's dumb. That's all there is to this.

I think you should read some of the publications in major cities. By comparison, you'd be surprised how TBN are better than some of the major cities papers.

Maybe so. But again you're saying, "If you compare it to a product that's bad, it looks good." Great. I don't want to paint the entire TBN sports department with the same brush because there are parts of their coverage that I love and there are people who I think consistently do an outstanding job. But my personal opinion is that sports coverage in Buffalo - particularly in regards to the Sabres - is extremely stagnant and could use some new voices. Your mileage may vary. As it usually does. :)

joe said...

I'm sure if you asked Sully why he thinks the Sabres are struggling, he would give you a list that we probably all agree on. I do think that those reasons he mentioned maybe valid, because of what the reporters have said about the locker room being death.

BTW, I hear you that TBN approach is stagnant because they always blame ownership. However, like the Bills, who have a stupid owner, sometimes the logical conclusion is always the right one even if it has been beaten to death.