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.
Who saw this coming? No one, really. Not even us, though we did just post a nicely timed #FireDarcy post. Yesterday, we touched on 3 reasons why Darcy Regier should be fired, now.
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):
Darcy Regier was fired last night.
In your dreams.
But when you woke up, he was still here, and when you hopped on the Twitters, you saw that he squashed the Pominville Welcome Back Show that the organization had put together. That’s some weird unreasonable grandpa/dictator stuff going on there.
You want him gone. You want something new. Something with a clear agenda coming into the rebuild. Unfortunately, you’re screwed, because there are 3 big reasons ya just can’t get hang him by his old hockey skates yet.
OK folks, I’m jumping on the #suffering bandwagon.
Before this egregious mess started, I set myself up for a season that would feature tons of losses but that would also feature some entertaining and intriguing hockey related moments down on the ice surface.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I refuse all #suffering. And that entire hashtag suffering thing is bunk.
This is a rebuilding project. It is not on Darcy, (or on me), to make this team win now. It is on Darcy, and Devine, and the suddenly cantankerous Ron Rolston, to make this team win. Eventually. For now, we’re putting teenagers on the ice, and they’re doing a good job (don’t forget Zadorov may be on the way soon, too).
OK, so I was right about Zadorov, and he has exceeded expectations in his two game career so far. So we’ve got that going for us for now, which is nice.
One of my personal hockey things is also to wait, oh so sort of patiently, until a team has played ten games before I pass judgement upon them. At the 10 game mark, you pretty much have a good look as to how great or how crappy your team is going to be. (Also, it’s mathematically near 1/10th-ish of the season, so it means a bit in the points struggle, too.) But I am not going to waste your time talking about that “points struggle” or anything else besides one thing: we’re rebuilding.
Eleven games in and we’re 1-9-1. How exactly do you enjoy rebuilding when then plane has crashed into the mountain? The impact has been loud, and painful. Fans aren’t looking for a way to have fun anymore, they’re looking for a way to survive.
Let’s not call each other out this season. Let’s not punch each other in the speakin’ teeth. Let’s relax, watch this season of rookies unfold as it is, for it is what it is. A rebuild. Nothing else. None of us expected anything more heading into this thing.
Former me was in a happier place.
Rebuilding aside, let’s examine just a few of the other hideous problems we’ve seen unfold this season:
1. Ron Rolston. With 8 regulation wins in… 43? games, his downfall has been stunningly painful to witness. We’re only 11 games into this rebuild, and calls from the fans and media (if you can actually count Mike Milbury as media), are furiously strident. I’ve been hoping to see RR pull off a smart coaching gimmick to get his boys back on track. Patrick Roy had the “Imma gonna knock DOWN THESE WALLS” gimmick, and it galvanized his team from the start. Rolston tried ice dancing with the rookies recently.
We’ve seen nothing inspiring from Rolston, we’ve seen no smart answers to the problems happening on the ice. Putting John Scott out on the ice last night early in the 3rd period of a winnable game was… idiotic. That coaching decision hurt his team’s ability to come back and actually do something positive. Instead, Scott tried to kill a guy.
Rolston has no ace up his sleeve. He’s doomed. It’s pretty depressing.
2. Grigorenko. As I noted yesterday in my mostly sardonic “open letter,” the Sabres need to enable Grigsy with some better linemates and better offensive zone starts. I know Rolston wants to see more effort, just as Grigs’ former coach (Roy) wanted – the effort problem is real. That is worrisome enough in itself. But last night Grigorenko played hard in the first period. His defensive play was strong. He cleared pucks. He actually played the body here and there. He was winning battles.
He was rewarded with a whopping 11:59 of ice time. That was more than usual, but it’s not of much use when one of your linemates is looking for big hits instead of pucks.
You want effort? I’m not sure how Grigorenko hasn’t sought asylum in the KHL yet (legal or not, I’m sure there’s some church in Russia that will take him in). For now, just being here must be taking some herculean effort.
3. Fire Darcy. The chanting is getting louder, and desperate fans have tried to pull together poorly thought out protest plans. The arena security is purportedly walking around and policing the fan base.
4. Vanek and Miller. These two guys have carried the Sabres for years, and Darcy had a chance to move them before this horrific season began. They don’t deserve to be dragged along for months in order for their trade values to go up by a couple increments. Most fans want them gone, simply for the sake of human dignity.
Aside from injury, I find it very difficult to imagine a worse way to end a career with a team that drafted you. I also can’t imagine how the players around the NHL look at their situations and think, in any conceivable way, that Buffalo is any kind of hockey destination other than a hockey purgatory. This is no way to rebuild a team.
Folks, we’re in the Dark Ages.
Which brings us to…
5. The Embarrassment. That anxious, squirmy feeling in your stomach this morning? That creeping dread in the back of your mind? Yea. We’re all feeling pretty awful these days. The record, in a rebuild, could be somewhat possible to stomach. But when you add in the failure/disillusionment/helplessness of the vets, the misuse of Grigorenko, the fan rebellion, the empty seats, the lack of effort on the ice, the lack of ideas from behind the bench, the company motto that a rebuild can only succeed “through the draft…”
…hey didn’t they raise ticket prices for this?
And of course, we now have the national embarrassment that was John Scott last night (he was trending all over the US on Twitter for a while there).
The Sabres, as a whole, are humiliating.
This is #suffering at its worse: the organization is dragging us down with them.
Again, we all expected to lose games this year. But none of us ever expected this much ineptitude at every level of the organization. And there is nothing that we, as fans, can do about it. We can hope for firings, but geez, even that is lowly and depressing.
At the end of the hockey day, right now, we have absolutely nothing. Maybe just the idea of a light that may be at the end of a tunnel with an indiscernible length.
That’s not good enough. It’s pretty damn awful.
Hang in there, folks. I’m there with you now, #suffering.
Scenario 1: Sabres stand pat and draft at 8th and 16th. NARRATIVE: “Again, Regier proved he just doesn’t have what it takes to get a good deal done with other NHL GM’s.”
Scenario 2: Sabres move up from the 8th pick, but cost, as expected, was high. NARRATIVE: “Again, Regier proved he just doesn’t have what it takes to get a good deal done with other NHL GM’s.”
Scenario 3: Vanek/Miller moved, but the return, while great, still does not deliver that generational talent. NARRATIVE: “Again, Regier proved he just doesn’t have what it takes to get a good deal done with other NHL GM’s.”
Scenario 4: Vanek/Miller not moved. NARRATIVE: “Again, Regier proved he just doesn’t have what it takes to get a good deal done with other NHL GM’s.”
And that’s how it goes for Regier these days.
“Back off guys. JUST BACK OFF.”
Good luck, Darcy.