It has been 10 years since Darcy Regier has arrived in Buffalo and what a decade it has been. From the end of Ted Nolan, to the Adelphia/Rigas scandal, to the loss of our two captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, just to name a few obstacles that Darcy Regier has had to overcome as GM of our beloved Sabres.
A lot of fans don't understand the "behind the scenes" work that goes on in the National Hockey League. Has Darcy made mistakes? Yes, but he admits to them. Does the GM of a team usually get the wrong end of the deal from fans? Of course. I am asking why do we blame a guy who has been through thick and thin to help keep this team and help the Sabres survive in Buffalo?
Now while I believe that Darcy should not escape all of the blame. His "wait and see" approach on the market value of his players or others in the league has back fired at times, but it has also worked to his advantage. Take a look at some trades that Darcy has made throughout the years:
-1997 Barrie Moore and Craig Miller for Miro Satan
-1998 Brad May to Vancouver for Geoff Sanderson
-1999 Matt Barnaby to Pittsburgh for Stu Barnes
-1999 Mike Wilson to Florida for Rhett Warrener and 5th rd pick (Ryan Miller)
-2000 Michael Grosek to Chicago for JP Dumont and Doug Gilmour (Chicago also paid half of Gilmours salary the next year)
-2002 Erik Rasmussen to LA for Adam Mair
-2003 Chris Gratton to Phoenix for Daniel Briere
-2003 Rhett Warrener and Steve Reinprecht to Calgary for Chris Drury and Steve Begin
-2005 3rd round pick to Calgary for Tony Lydman
--These are just a handful of deals that were made by Darcy and yet some bigger then others. The deals that were made and these players that were brought in have made a huge impact in Sabres Hockey within the last 10 years.
The first couple years of the new millennium, were some of the toughest times this team has ever had to go through. We had an owner (John Rigas) who stole from the people of Buffalo and lied to us about it (which in the long run, led to the demise of Michael Peca and Dominik Hasek as members of the Buffalo Sabres). I remember the day Darcy traded Mike Peca to the NY Islanders for Taylor Pyatt and Tim Connolly. Emotional and almost in tears as he talked to the press. That move was not his choice and not up to him. That was part of the screw job that John Rigas and his sons put on us. Which in turn, made our All Star Goaltender (Dominik Hasek) ask for a trade as he felt this team was not commited to win. The Sabres then went bankrupt and almost left Buffalo until Tom Golisano stepped in and saved us. Who was here through it all and when having the chance to leave stuck with this team and this city? Darcy Regier.
Losing Chris Drury and Daniel Briere hurt. A deal should have been made with both men long before July 1st ever came around and we all know this. Tough decisions were made and risks were taken and they didn't come out on our side this time around. We have the young talent who can fill in the roles that are lost in #23 and #48's departures from the Queen city. One of the people who helped bring in that young talent is...you guessed it...Darcy Regier.
So when the Pominville population goes up by 1 and the goal number is changed at the top of the HSBC arena on the wall in the 300's or the fans sitting in Mairs office cheer for #22, remember that Darcy Regier was the one who brought these players here.
My goal of this blog was to make points as to why Darcy Regier deserves to be treated better by fans here and given the benefit of the doubt. He cares for and has a passion for this community and this team. He is what being a "Buffalonian" is all about. At the Press Conference after losing Drury and Briere, Darcy wanted to say more then he did but he held back. Darcy would begin speaking and Larry Quinn would interrupt. Darcy was just as frustrated as we were. I believe that Darcy is caught between a rock and a hard place. We have a budget that is lower than the leagues maximum salary cap number and Larry Quinn has a say in Hockey decisions which I feel should be left to Darcy and the coaching staff. While Larry should work only on the business side of things for the Buffalo Sabres.
You know what though? Darcy was right when he said, "We will find a way to make our team better". I truly believe that because Darcy Regier always finds a way.