Regier Chats About Contracts, Coaches, And Pominville’s Rehabilitation
To follow up today’s news, Darcy Regier held a press conference to field questions on Andrej Sekera and Matt Ellis’ extensions. After talking about avoiding arbitration with Sekera and discussing the interesting set-up of Ellis’ deal, he answered questions on the organization’s coaching vacancies, Jason Pominville’s recovery from surgery, and progress made on other contract talks.
When it came to the threat of arbitration looming over the team’s head, Darcy Regier made it clear he never thought it would happen. “We’re happy. I never anticipated going to arbitration with Andrej. I think it was a recognition of him needing to preserve his rights on one hand, but yet the conversations with Allan Walsh (his agent) had always been focusing on getting the deal done,” admitted Darcy. “Statistically, for the points he had, he was going to do very well in arbitration. What this provided us with was a longer term contract at what we felt were very good numbers.”
With Sekera taken care of, the only defenseman left unsigned is Marc-Andre Gragnani. Asked for an update on any contract talks with Gragnani, Darcy revealed he had just chatted with the youngster recently. “I talked to him today. Not about his contract, but about other things. I think contractually we’re moving in the right direction. I’ve had conversations with his agent and his expectation is to be here. Our expectation is for him to be here, and we just have to settle on a number.” On where Gragnani stands with the team, Darcy said, “It leaves him right where he was. We think Marc will play with us and contribute offensively and will grow. We still hold out a lot of promise for [Marc]-Andre.”
After conversation turned toward the unorthodox nature of Matt Ellis’ extension (“It’s two-way for the upcoming year and one-way for the second year”), Darcy praised the hard-working grinder by saying, “Matt, aside from providing terrific depth for us organizationally, is someone who is extremely well-respected with the Sabre club and anyone that he’s played with at the minor league level. The quality of person he is, the work ethic he brings, the example he sets is recognized by the coaches, the trainers, and his teammates. So, he’s important for the organization both for the growth of the younger players and also depth for the Sabres.”
With the topic of extensions taken care of, Regier talked about both the Sabres assistant and general Rochester coaching vacancies. Regarding Rochester’s vacancies, he said, “We’ve begun the interview process. We’ll continue it through this week and probably next week. Hopefully within ten days/two weeks we’re in the position to finalize it.” Regarding the open assistant coaching job with the Sabres, he remarked, “Lindy is out of town for this week but will be back next week and I think he’ll close that out as well.” One possible candidate to coach in either city is Jay McKee, who I talked to earlier in the summer about how he might continue his hockey career. He’d said he told Regier about his desire to come on board with the coaching staff at the NHL or AHL level and remains hopeful that he can return to the organization he became a star with.
Probably the most important comment of the night came when the general manager was asked about Pominville’s progress rehabilitating from his horrific injury. Asked if he expected the forward would be ready to go at the beginning of training camp, Darcy said, “We do. Everything is on course and we expect him ready to go.”
To watch Darcy’s press conference (with most of his remarks), navigate over to Sabres TV.