I honestly had every intention on this being about the baseball writers not electing anyone for the hall of fame this year, and not really thinking it was that big a deal.
And then Lance decided to talk to Oprah.
With that, then the game plan changed to make this about Lance, and Barry, and Roger, and PEDs, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
And then America got swooped up into Manti Te’o fever.
So you’ll excuse me if I really have lost any sort of interest or focus on anything to do with the Baseball Hall of Fame at the moment – other than as I write this, news that Stan Musial has passed away, R.I.P. There are obvious common threads in all three stories, but I assure you, that has been covered in detailed fashion elsewhere, by far better writers.
See, I was purposefully trying to avoid jotting down an entry regarding the start of the Sabres’ season. Not out of anger over the lockout. That was just business. Nah, it was more about that you, reader, have already been ensconced with layers upon layers of Sabre-centric material over the past couple of weeks. What more could be added to the conversation that wasn’t already floating around cyberspace?
And then Terry Pegula announced that Darcy Regier has had his contract extended.
Look, this is not going to be a “FIRE REGIER” post. It’s not. True, I am not going to leading any Darcy Regier Appreciation Day parade down Delaware Avenue anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize what he has done well. Getting a 1st for Gaustad was ridiculous (Dave Poile then doubling down on it with giving Goose a 3-year extension this summer, outstanding stuff). There’s a good amount of promising young talent in the organ-eye-zation. The team appears to have a direction again, as opposed to just being stuck in the mud as it felt like a great of the last 5 years.
Ahh, those last 5 years of Sabres hockey. They’ve kinda sucked, haven’t they? I mean, really, there have been some high points, but overall, the “Meh” far outweighs the “Wow”. That’s not all on him. Lindy’s full value for his share, along with the remnants of “The Core”. But Darcy hired (and hasn’t fired) the coach, and picked the players.
Here’s the thing, kids. Pick your arbitrary spot on the calendar to make you point on the success or failure of Darcy’s reign as top hockey department poobah in Downtown Buffalo. Wanna start at the beginning? 4 Conference Final appearances and 1 Cup Final. Or if you like, the franchise has missed the postseason 6 of the last 10 years. Whatever. The cruel fact of the matter is that in far too few of the Sabres’ 1st 41 seasons of existence have they been considered a serious contender to win the whole thing. And as previously noted Regier has been steering the boat for a pretty large chunk of that time now.
In the age of Pegulaville, with unlimited resources, playing for 8th place cannot be the goal anymore. It’s far past time the Sabres became a consistent, regular contender, for division, conference, and yes God forbid, Cup championships. It doesn’t mean they have to win one of those every year. But they need to be in the conversation a hell of a lot more than they ever have. And if that is not the case, then those whose job it’s been to get them there need to be (gasp!) replaced. Stockpiling young talent is great, but if it doesn’t equate into lots of victories in Buffalo, then so what? I never expected Regier (or Ruff) to get fired since last season ended. But as other fans have commented, it would be nice to know that if the mediocrity continues, it could at least be a possibility. Saturday made it seem like, at least short term, that’s not the case.