Okay, there's been overwhelming amounts of Sabres news out there lately, but nothing I particularly wanted to touch on. Can you blame me? Most of it revolves around what's quickly becoming a he-said, she-said blame game over the loss of the two co-captains, and all roads lead back to Darcy Regier. Drury and Briere are gone? Blame Darcy. Zubrus signs with the Devils? Blame Darcy. Numminen re-signs for the same money he did last off-season? Blame Darcy. We didn't win the Cup last year? All Darcy's doing. Your garbage disposal is clogged? That damn Darcy stuck his spoon down there again!
Somewhere, the forgotten Tom Donahoe is going, all Jan Brady: "Darcy, Darcy, Darcy!"
The only thing close to positive press that the Sabres have been getting in Buffalo (aside from the coverage of the Numminen signing--which I view as good news, even if the pricetag's a little high, and it means Paetsch staying in the 7th spot) was an editorial yesterday by Allen Wilson, which boiled down to little more than "Buffalonians, you may talk tough with all your promises of rallies and boycotts, but at heart, you're all just gluttons for punishment. So you'll gladly dig into whatever shit Regier ends up serving you next season, whether you like it or not." Not exactly heartwarming stuff.
And then came this morning, when Bucky Gleason decided to plumb new depths of putridity in journalism. He took a perfectly lovely story about Todd Marchant bringing the Cup he won in Anaheim back to WNY to celebrate, and twisted it to fit his latest favorite game of taking a dump on Sabres management. If you read the front page of the story, you'd hardly know it was written by Gleason at all, since it's a relatively unbiased and sentimental recount of all the various ways players have used the Cup in their alloted 24 hours, and a recap of the journey Marchant took to get his day with Stanley.
But turn to the second page, and you'll find Bucky picks up on his own cues, and takes it upon himself to gripe irrationally about Darcy Regier. Because, you know, no one else in Buffalo is doing that job adequately enough already. Apparently Bucky's strategy is just to throw every bit of blame he can think of at management and see what sticks. It's true that they let Drury and Briere slip through their fingers, but we have yet to see whether that's as big of a mistake as everyone is claiming. My prediction: No. The rest of the accusations Bucky flings at Darcy range from the merely uncorroborated (losing McKee, Dumont, and Grier was such a huge blow that we had to suffer through a 113-point, President's Trophy season) to the absurd (Darcy should have forgone signing Numminen in favor of bringing up Sekera--a kid from Rochester whose name I've never even heard before).
The fact that all of this criticism is framed around Marchant's Cup-winning tale just serves Bucky's greater purpose of showing how Anaheim does everything right and Buffalo does everything wrong. I don't want to take anything away from the Ducks, because they certainly deserved their championship, but they win one Cup and all of the sudden they're the be-all, end-all of organizations? Give me a break. Obviously Burke is a very capable GM, but just because Regier has a different style doesn't make him incompetent. If the recipe for a Stanley Cup were as simple as taking a proactive approach to player signings, I think people smarter than Bucky Gleason would have figured it out a long time ago. Some might say that more important than putting the right players together is making sure those players show up to play every night. But, then, such people would be claiming that Drury and Briere are capable of doing wrong, wouldn't they? And we can't have that. They're on the fast track to canonization.
So who is the authority Bucky uses to prove a free-agent-happy GM is the key to winning? Todd Marchant's dad. That's right, a player's father. Now, I'm sure he knows more than a thing or two about hockey, and he may even get to experience the business side of it a little through his son, but I'm willing to bet even he opened the paper this morning, saw Bucky's declaration of "Peter Marchant For General Manager," and said, "What a headcase."
Bucky, no matter what you say, Darcy deserves his job. It's the fact that you remain employed that never ceases to amaze me.