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Andy Sutton Said It Best – An Assessment Of Whining Sabres Fans During Free Agency

07/02/10
by

I’m sick and damn tired of all the whining and moaning and grousing Sabres fans have done in the last 24 hours.

Ever since Black Sunday, when Danny Briere bolted for Philly and Chris Drury split for the Rangers, Sabres fans get themselves worked up into an irrational, bloodlust-like frenzy on July 1st. It’s embarrassing, really. Why do people feel the need to criticize Darcy for not behaving unlike himself? We’re all well aware of Regier’s more conservative, sensible dealings as general manager, but the majority of fans still beat their chests and gnash their teeth at him on Free Agency Day.

Yesterday’s signing of Jordan Leopold effectively replaces Henrik Tallinder for a smaller dollar amount and smaller term than the suddenly-greedy Swede got. Sure, the $3M per that Leopold is getting is a little high, but he’ll be serviceable, sure. And fans should realize how much better Leopold played on the Penguins as opposed to the Panthers – in Florida, he was a good player on a terrible team and it showed. In Pittsburgh he was an OK guy. I like this signing.

The Sabres are a team that can build from within and sign low-impact free agents to compliment the team. They’ve got the best goaltender in the world and he just won the Vezina, this year’s Calder winner and a kid who could be a dark horse for the same award in 2010/2011, the best shot-tipper in the game, a top-3 faceoff man, two of the best defensive wingers in the league, a tough captain who will be rejuvenated coming back from surgery, the league’s top pest (statistically-proven) once he re-signs, and a slew of kids ready to make their mark on the NHL. Add to that the revolutionary new video drafting system that’s stocked the AHL Portland Pirates with terrific prospects, and this is a team built to last.

Sure, the system may not work for every fan, but where do you think you’re gonna get screaming about how much you hate how Darcy Regier works on Twitter or the comments section of The Buffalo News website? Are you experts?

Shut up, already. As someone said today, it’s not like they’re the Bills.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. 07/02/10 1:55 PM

    Not to mention that Leopold plays smart. Only 25 giveaways in 09-10. Tallinder had 55. Lydman had 49 in 67 games.

  2. 07/02/10 2:42 PM

    I’ve always been fascinated with the start of free agency in the NHL. There’s a couple trains of thought on this one. First, even with a salary cap I think contracts are out of whack in the league. Matthew Lombardi has never had a 20 goal season but he’s looking for something in the $5 million/year range? Imagine if Jochen Hecht was looking for that kind of money. People would lose their minds. Similar stats, Hecht is older, but you get the point. While I recognize the importance of addressing holes in the roster through free agency, as a Buffalo fan we need to realize there’s always going to be several factors working against the team. Buffalo is a small market team, they were bankrupt and under league-control not too long ago, there are questions about owner commitment, questions about management, scouting methods, and players always talk to players so if the team has a “reputation” it’ll be well known league-wide. So it’s harder to bring impact free agents into Buffalo. I also believe overpaying for a free agent is foolish. I can’t justify paying X amount of dollars to a player just to make a splash, I’ve never liked that mentality. Darcy’s patience to make a deal is definitely frustrating at times, but I’d rather see him stand pat than give out a stupid contract to an under-performer.

    That said, the second school of thought is this: If free agent signings set the market for negotiating with players, why haven’t the Sabres been more active in setting that market for themselves? I look at the opportunity they had to extend Drury’s contract, or Campbell’s, they had the chance to set the market for a top center and an offensive defenseman for years to come. Instead they don’t, and Drury, Briere, and Campbell get ludicrous deals. I know the team’s policy is to not negotiate extensions during the season, but a team that sets its own market then doesn’t have to worry about free agent prices.

    Finally, I know making trades in the NHL today is tough, because you need to match dollars coming in and going out most times, but I believe if Darcy was more willing to deal picks and prospects to improve the roster, than Sabres fans would feel less dread come July 1.

    Just my thoughts.

    • 07/02/10 3:17 PM

      Scott, I understand a lot of where you’re coming from, but I just wanna correct one point you brought up – after the Black Sunday incident, Regier publicly admitted his folly in not negotiating with free agents during the season and began to work with players between October and April.

      • 07/02/10 11:32 PM

        What’s your guess on ownership’s involvement here? How heavy of a hand does Golisano/Quinn sway on roster makeup?

      • 07/03/10 12:05 AM

        Well, I don’t think that Tom Golisano (as majority owner) has a lot to do with it but Larry Quinn (as minority owner and de facto boss on the scene) does. Darcy Regier’s best years and most effective trades and signings happened between Quinn’s termination of his first tenure with the organization and his return and promotion during his second tenure. The last set of dynamic deals brokered by Regier happened just prior to the 2005/2006 season. After that, Quinn’s power grew immensely until it reached the point it’s at now, being his position as minority owner. When Mike Grier originally departed, his final words were that the organization wasn’t committed to winning. After Grier left, Dumont, McKee, Briere, and Drury all followed. These occurrences happened during Quinn’s rise from business manager to vice-president to minority owner.

        I guarantee that if Darcy Regier were the VP of Hockey Operations as well as General Manager, we fans would see a much different Darcy than we do now.

  3. 07/02/10 5:28 PM

    I always hate reading comments on Sabres Edge. The things that come from peoples’ heads about this team boggles my mind. The fact Darcy hasn’t gotten anything done surely doesn’t surprise me and he always does signings like this. He’s a very low-key guy when it comes to the offseason I feel and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s too bad I’ve only really been into Sabres hockey for four seasons and even I understand this. People need to chill out.

    • 07/02/10 5:40 PM

      In the past, Shelby, Darcy used to absolutely fleece teams. But it just seems his best work was done in between Quinn’s tenures with the team or after he came back but before he became so powerful (1998-2006).

  4. 07/02/10 5:34 PM

    Thank you for this post. I’m a newbie Sabres/hockey fan, but so far Darcy’s moves seemed to make sense. I was starting to think I was crazy for thinking that way after reading some other blog posts.

  5. 07/02/10 5:47 PM

    So…YOU’RE an expert?

    I agree with you…seems like a lot of fans just like to listen to themselves complain. Misery loves company!

  6. 07/29/10 5:12 PM

    I’m just sick of never winning a championship. And i’m pretty sure there are alot of fans just like me. Why does he never get a guy who can score more then 30 goals or a guy on defence that can qb the pp. Please some one tell me why?? With this team we have now you really think we are going to win a cup?? No! Maybe in 20 yrs if we keep building within! Sabres fans have a long season ahead of them. Oh yea for who posted this thread when do you think Buffalo will win a cup???? Maybe when Sidney and Malkin retire .. lmao.. %)

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