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"Sabres Win Cup!"
Lancaster, NY • United States • 36 Years Old • Male
When the Sabres season ended, the speculation started. Would the Sabres sign Drury or Briere? How much money would they command? Questions, Questions, Questions!

In the middle of the season we thought Drury might cash in on a $6mil/year long term contract. And with “leading scorer” statistics, Briere might get more.

Now, as we close in on July 1, those salary estimates seem bargain basement. Drury and Briere are the top commodities on the market… and everything points to the market being well above $7mil/year mark for each player.

So I HAVE to ask, did the Sabres ever really plan to sign either of them? Was it ever really a consideration? Yesterday Regier said that there has been “no sense of urgency” in talks with Briere and Drury. All but a single shred of evidence point to the fact that these guys are as good as GONE!

So, what’s that one shred of evidence that could infer they did intend to make a serious run after one of the captains? A single comment from Larry Quinn.

In a recent press conference, Quinn adamantly expressed that the Sabres would be increasing their payroll from last year. Connecting the dots from that comment means that for the Sabres to spend $44million, they would HAVE to sign a big name player. And you would figure it would be one of their own captains? Seems to make sense right?

Let me first remind you however, Quinn also said previously (in two separate forums) that the Sabres would be much more “fiscally responsible” when it comes to their payroll for 2008.

So… what’s the truth? Here’s my take.

I think it’s pretty clear that Drury and Briere were never in the long-term plans to begin with. I also think Quinn's comment about expecting to increase salary next year was a classic (and well executed) "cover your ass" move.

Now it’s all set up for the Sabres to claim the following official position:
“We wanted to sign them... as we told you, we were fully prepared to increase our salary to bring them back… but these two players clearly didn't want to come back to Buffalo.”
They can play off Drury and Briere as the money-grubbing-villians. The Sabres get the “poor us” excuse and sympathy from the fans. And all the while they never really expected to spend the money in the first place.

Now whether or not this is the right decision for the franchise is another story for another day… But that’s my take on the “story behind the story” so far.

What do you think?

(By the way, I happen to believe letting them both go IS the right move to ensure long-term success. More on that later!)

Filed Under:   UFA   Sabres   Briere   Drury   cleon  
June 21, 2007 11:04 AM ET | Delete
I agree with you that letting them both go is the right move if they end up getting a salary in the $8mil range. I don't think it makes sense for any team to tie up almost 1/5 of their payroll with one player unless they are a true one-of-a-kind superstar like a Crosby will likely be a year or two down the road. Hockey is too much of a team game and there are very few players who can single handedly dominate games on a consistent basis.
June 21, 2007 11:05 AM ET | Delete
I really agree NJFlyer42
June 21, 2007 12:22 PM ET | Delete
sad but true
June 21, 2007 12:22 PM ET | Delete
sad but true
June 21, 2007 1:02 PM ET | Delete
Were they really that good? Was it the overall team? To me I thought Briere played like a girl in the playoffs. I think the team made Danny look good. Now Chris always works hard but is he worth 8Mil? If both go we can fill the skates with other players that this team will make look good. This is about a good team and not about two good players as I see it. Remember Peerless Price and how good he said he was? How about Eric Moulds? How about Drew Bledsoe? I am not getting caught up in players no more. To me the worst part of not signing them is now my #48 shirt is worth nothing on E-bay. Hey I can still wash the car with it!
June 21, 2007 1:10 PM ET | Delete
Horton just signed for 4 mil with Florida. He would have looked good as a Sabre
June 21, 2007 1:54 PM ET | Delete
That's an interesting perspective. I agree on the whole twisting the story with the contracts and the "poor us" feeling Quinn is trying to portray.
June 21, 2007 2:26 PM ET | Delete
i agree buffalo's big agent signings were lindy and darcy. i imagine danny and chris are looking for contacts that would have them finishing their careers here in buffalo. i don't think they are looking for 7 million dollars contacts for 2 or 3 years. plus if there is anything this past season shown us is that young guys can come up from rochester and the team does not miss a beat. why pay 7 mil. when as along as you draft good you get the same result. my prediction is the next free agent signing will be randy cunneyworth. with james patrick going down to rochester and randy taking his place on the coaching staff.
June 21, 2007 2:29 PM ET | Delete
Good blog! I have questioned whether either is in their plans as well. If some teams wants either one for 7 million a year for 6 years or so, they can have them. Drury will be your typical 2nd line, leader player who, believe it or not isn't noticed on half the games he plays. Briere is more dynamic but is not a 7 milliion a year player. He is a product of the Sabres run and gun system. Flyers, if you want him, you will overpay for a 70 point player. Enjoy!!
June 21, 2007 2:39 PM ET | Delete
Don't get me wrong... i think Drury is a "Hockey player's" Hockey player... And I pretty sure he will lead anothe rteam to the cup. But it's a matter of market timing. You gust CAN't pay $7mil for a 60 point guy. He's the same conversation as Peca... and regier and co didn't budge on him.
June 21, 2007 3:03 PM ET | Delete
JUST DON'T SCREW UP THE VANIK DEAL!!! To me he is the biggest signing of all. Also I thought Zubrus was a hell of a hockey player. He was better than the whole team on the boards. His first 7 or so games he was Zzzzzzzzzzzzz then Wowwwwwwwwwwww
June 21, 2007 3:44 PM ET | Delete
rkok--You guys can't be serious about Briere. Even if what you say is true and Briere is simply a product of the Buffalo system. Why get rid of a player who is a perfect fit for your system? It can't be because of money. Briere made $5M last year when the cap was only $42M. Now that it will be closer to $50M (maybe more) Buffalo doesn't want to spend an extra $2M on the guy. This is shocking especially considering that Drury and Numminen are coming off their cap freeing up an additional $5.6M that should be enough to give both Vanek and Briere a raise, sign them for the long-term and still be under $40 for their payroll. Buffalo ownership simply reeks of cheapness.
June 21, 2007 4:06 PM ET | Delete
(Buffalo ownership simply reeks of cheapness. ) hehehehe I think Philly has its own problems lolol Maybe we should hire Bobby Clark. Hey give Danny 8 mil of Philly money and Chris 8 mill too. You can have the Danny,Chris and Marty show!!!!!
June 21, 2007 4:17 PM ET | Delete
By the way with Chris and Danny WE DID NOT EVEN COME CLOSE TO A CUP!!! Maybe with Marty you might. Good Luck
June 21, 2007 4:51 PM ET | Delete
here is a comment for the flyer dud, Briere is one hell of a good player, BUT hes not a playoff guy or a guy to count on, how many game winners did he have, how many pressure goals did he score. the answer is not enough to be the heart and sole of a team. chris drury was the heart of this team, and thats something that points dont measure. daniel briere will never lead a team to the stanley cup without a guy like drury. I would really like chris to stay but hes too late in his career for a long term deal. I think his shelf life for the type of player he is, is only 2 years so whom ever signs him will basically be paying 2 years 2 long for a player that will be outta gas sooner rather than later so I also agree that if we cut the ties now we will be a better team in the future. Unless we can get drruuuu for 2 instead of 4 or more
June 21, 2007 10:12 PM ET | Delete
If the sabres lose both no big deal its the platers playing the system not playing individuale hockey.Look at last years injuies and callups and resulting record
June 22, 2007 9:01 AM ET | Delete
That's the whole point though. Briere isn't worth 7-8M to the Flyers. I don't think his style really fits us. But you know his style fit Buffalo so what's the point of having a 42M payroll and letting a player like Briere go when the cap could be as much as 52M. You can talk about this great system you have but in reality, you still need skilled players to make the system work. And Buffalo took the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes to game 7 even with all the injuries you had on the blue line, that is coming close to winning a cup.
June 22, 2007 9:38 AM ET | Delete
Good comments... thanks for your interest in my blog!
June 22, 2007 12:18 PM ET | Delete
Great blog, very good read!! I agree with you 100%.
June 22, 2007 2:21 PM ET | Delete
I also agree with everything you said. I believe the market has gone to high to justify even trying to sign these guys. If either really wanted to stay they would sign for $6 mill for 4 years. I believe in the end it will always be about the cash and they will sign with the highest bidder!
June 22, 2007 11:14 PM ET | Delete
It's a stupid policy not to negotiate during the season. Look how many guys are signing before they could have hit the market. You've got to at least try, and the Sabres ain't trying.
June 23, 2007 5:25 PM ET | Delete
Its a sad day in Buffalo,but Ive been saying the same thing since the beginning of last season.Fact is we could of got these guys alot cheaper along time ago.Darcy should of been fired and Quin too.While I dont agree how much these guys are going to get they will be missed.Im just waiting on them to screw up the Vanek deal.Im going out on a limb now and saying if this plays out Buffalo will be trying to squeak into the playoffs if they get in this year.
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