There was a Major Announcement today. I’m sure you’ve heard about it.
So long Darcy, goodbye Rolston. Thanks for your hard work. Welcome back Pat. Welcome back Ted. And welcome back to $100 Sabres tickets on Stubhub.
There’s much to be made of this day, lots of feelings and analysis and other #hottakes to delve into. But for now, one thing stands out. More on that later. First, let’s return to the common sense that was yesterday’s post. Call it prognostication, call it serendipity if you want. But it was just common sense. A quick Sparknotes review (you can skip ahead if you read the post):
Even if Rolston is going to be The Guy, a hockey team has to bring other hockey minds to the interview table. There is a massive amount of talent available for 30 NHL coaching gigs, and each one comes with different approaches and possibly extremely effective ideas. To ignore and eliminate all that talent without even sitting down and meeting with it first is perplexing at best, and given Rolston’s record so far, it’s pretty damning at its worst.
Indeed, Regier has a long history of getting great returns via the trade market, (something which I wrote about before). Unfortunately, rarely has his haul translated to wins, or playoff appearances.
…at some point, a GM has to find a way to turn his assets into W’s. And after such a hilariously long tenure as Regier’s, a GM has to turn success into a Stanley Cup.
Detroit is not exactly your model city, but it is at least a model of winning hockey. There is nothing about the city of Buffalo that keeps NHL UFA’s away. It’s the lack of winning. It’s Regier’s Sabres’ long-standing losing culture.
In the end, that falls on Darcy. It should fall hard enough to get Pegula’s attention, but so far Terry has chosen to stick by his GM.
And well, that sticks us all with an old, tired out, losing culture. Hashtag: Suffering.
Every great hockey team finds a way to utilize elite talent on offense. #ToughToPlayAgainst has done nothing for the Sabres 1st line talent except shed it in the trade market.
For now, maybe we’re lucky to have Darcy still on board. So long as he keeps stockpiling drafts and promising prospects, there will be a great foundation in Buffalo to build on.
For the long term, I would hope that the Sabres bring in a better talent evaluator. It’s time to let another GM take over with that bevvy of draft picks and prospects, and do something Darcy has never been able to do – put together a winning, elite team.
Today, Pegula delivered. Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston were relieved of their duties.
Sabres legend and all-around-smart-hockey-mind Pat LaFontaine was brought in as President of Hockey Ops, and Ted Nolan was brought back as interim head coach try to turn this team back into the “Hardest Working Team in Hockey,” or something close enough to that.
Again, it’s all just common sense. There may be questions about the wisdom behind hiring exclusively ex-Sabres, but I’m withholding my judgement on that sentimental argument until I see what GM LaFontaine hires.
The rest of this was much, much more than common sense. Maybe more than just a GM/coach replacement. Today was a resounding blast to all of our senses. The words and images coming out of the First Niagara Center today were a shock to our eyes and ears. Everything felt upside down. Nothing about any of this had a familiar taste or smell.
Yet there they were, sitting behind a desk at the FNC. LaFontaine and Nolan – Ted Nolan. They turned us to putty. We immediately became fans again, ready to be fit back into the Sabres next mold, or whatever design they come up with to win that elusive Cup.
Whatever the exact intentions behind the firings and hirings, whatever reasons for the timing of it, or of any Sabres alumnus circumstances involved – for now, none of these things really matter. The Sabres aren’t going to suddenly become a playoff team. Ten Nolan isn’t going to resurrect the careers of Drew Stafford and Tyler Myers overnight, or find a way to jumpstart Grigorenko into a superstar by Friday’s gamenite. He’s still here on an interim basis.
Heck, we still don’t have a GM.
One thing was certainly achieved on the day: the Sabres grabbed a big hold on the fan base again. They won us back, and we’re drooling for a taste of whatever is going to happen next.
Pegula and Co. – you’ve got our attention.
And we can’t wait to see what you do to hold onto it. Now go get us the best damn GM on the planet.
next post: Sabres March to the “Playoffs”