Regier’s True Test Begins Now

Lately, Darcy Regier has become a real hustler with Terry Pegula’s bank roll.

His first test as a GM without financial shackles was to see what he could simply go out and buy.

He flexed some of his classic GM muscle when he stole Robyn Regehr (and a 2nd round pick) from the Calgary Flames. Then the spending began.

He traded for the rights to Christian Ehrhoff, and then signed him to a stay in Hockey Heaven by draining a Swiss bank or two by including a ┬ásigning bonus of 8 million dollars (and a further “signing” bonus of $5 million for the 2012-13 season).

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It's not robbery. It's "cap circumvention." Still, it makes fans look at Regier as one cool outlaw.

Then, he pried Ville Leino out of contention for the Stanley Cup with the Flyers by overpaying the once-center-turned-winger-turned-center-again $4.5 million per year until the 2016-17 season. ┬áThat’s a nice reward for a NHLer with a career goal scoring history of 5, 4, 2, and 19. (The wager is that the 19 is the real measure, and he’ll only get better from there. Fair enough – he does have 28 points in 37 playoff games.)

Now, the Pegula Bucks are far from spent, but Darcy has hit the wall known as the NHL salary cap (circa 2004).

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The fun's over, Darcy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love living in Hockey Heaven, and I know, and have written about, every aspect about it that I hold dear to my hockey heart. But one can’t help but look at these contracts and note that money played a major role in getting two of the aforementioned three here. Perhaps, it was the sole reason.

Pegula and Black are still creating this thing, folks. It is going to take time to convince the NHL world that this Heaven ain’t no hustle – that Heaven is under our feet here in Buffalo (on the ice) as well as over our heads. One look at those silly-rich signing bonuses for Ehrhoff tells us that no one is buying in – yet.

Cashing in? Yes.

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