(WECK 1230) — Sabres general manager Darcy Regier met with the media after his team’s disappointing exit from the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs and vowed to do things he hadn’t in a long time, if ever.
The front office expressed the need to show more tenacity, to get guys willing to reverse what Pat Kaleta called “a lack of desperation.”
I was sold. Regier’s job could’ve been lost because of the loss to Boston, but there were too many variables. For one, the injury to Thomas Vanek, who scored in both series games in which he appeared. The other? Missing Jochen Hecht for the entire series. No, you can’t discount a loss because of the injuries everyone faces, but perhaps it was enough to save Regier… for now. Surely Regier would use the desperation of draft day for good. I just knew a new Regier would make a deal.
Not to jump the gun with several days left before the start of free agency, but a couple things have come out of Regier’s mouth that have intimated “same old, same old.”
First, Regier told a local radio station that he had two of the top 20 centers in the league, a statement that is not only arrogant, but patently absurd. On “The Late Nick Mendola” program Friday night it took Chris Ryndak, Mike Cline and myself all of five minutes to name 20 centers we’d rather have than both Derek Roy and Tim Connolly.
Then, after the first round, Regier reasoned his lack of activity with this quote:
“There were a lot of conversations over the last few days about players being moved, and it didn’t happen. Maybe the ask was too high. Teams in some cases were looked for first round picks for players that everyone knows they are either in a cap situation, a tough spot. I think it’s good they didn’t get off the hook by collecting a bunch of first round picks cause I don’t think that’s beneficial certainly to teams like us.”
These were reused, recycled and ugly words, to be sure. Regier had reduced his inactivity to the same sort of vindictive garbage we’d heard in the past. Read the quote again. It sounds like sixth-grader gleefully seeing the popular girl get detention. “I’m so glad the daring teams didn’t get rewarded for taking risks last year.”
It’s same old, same old, same old, same old and it’s very frustrating, maybe even disturbing. Yes, Regier can do something in the next few days to make this entire post look like a meaningless rant, but those two statements have me believing they’ll sign their Montador and Grier of the 2010-11 campaign and vomit the same old “marketplace caught us by surprise” baloney.
Reading between the lines, it seemed Regier had the chance to pillage a team in desperate need of salary cap relief. We don’t know which players the Flyers, Blackhawks or whoever else was offering, but if that 23rd overall pick was enough to help pry Jeff Carter, Patrick Sharp or another component away and he didn’t because of principle? In the words of wise Chuck Barkley, “That’s just terrible.”
Here’s the thing, Darcy. Now No. 23 has a name: Mark Pysyk. And if you get fired because the team flames out in the first round again, you won’t ever reap the benefits of said selection. But if, in five years, some other Sabres GM oversees Pysyk’s rise to NHL All-Star, you’ll be able to sit in your rocking chair and know that you were right in the long run.
The clock is ticking.