I want to preface this by saying I think you have had some very difficult circumstances in which to deal with these past 2 seasons, and I commend you for your hard work and efforts. I think you have done an excellent job at adding great young prospects through the draft and trades. You had a great deal of foresight as it pertained to the rule changes, and that foresight has helped us reach the ECF 2 years in a row. Having said all this, I have a couple of questions.
First, Darcy, with all that you were able to predict about the game changing; why is it that you could not predict the bevy of young forwards coming up the pipeline that could have easily filled the role of Al Kotalik? Why did we spend 2 and a half million that could have been used to lock up Briere last season? I feel that Paille was ready, and we knew Stafford was maybe a year away. Too much to give a 1-dimensional player when you knew our two captains, our heart and soul and our chance at a cup were UFA's the following year.
The other thing I would like to ask, is how could you treat Daniel Briere the way you did when you pompously put a non-pay raise offer on the table. An offer similar to the one he was seeking a year before. That is nothing more than a slap in the face, and speaks volumes as to how this organization runs things. The ramifications stretch further than just losing Briere. What happens when our young RFA's, and other potential free agents see what has transpired between Buffalo's front office, and one of their so called/should be franchise players. Its not going to look good.
Finally Darcy, please use this as a lesson. Contracts will go up every year. Yes, they will. Its obvious the league is headed back to the way it used to be, and for the small markets to survive, they need to anticipate this, and dish out some long term deals. Its not a tragedy to ink you core players long term. I'm tired of looking back and saying, "If only we'd locked him up 2 years ago."