Those of you who have read my blogs for quite sometime know that I’m not a fan of Darcy Regier, and I haven’t been for quite some time. There’s a lot of talk about his future in Buffalo, especially as the Sabres will once again miss out on the playoffs. 2013 has seen Lindy Ruff leave the Buffalo Sabres organization, and it’s time for Darcy to leave too.
Let’s start with the obvious reasons for firing Darcy. This wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Danny Briere and Chris Drury. One of those 2 should have been kept in Buffalo, both were lost, and Darcy held a press conference about how the team needed to rebuild after losing those two. I’m using this as my starting point, the end of 2007 season.
This started Darcy’s inaccurate assessments of talent and over paying players in the NHL. Look at some of the contracts that he offered Buffalo Sabres and other players over the years. To list some of the players recently who have been overpaid, Roy, Connolly, Myers, Stafford, Leino, and Pominville, I can even argue that Vanek is overpaid. He had 84 points in 06-07. Since then, his best year was 2010-2011 with 73 points. Otherwise, here’s the other seasons; 07-08- 64 points (82 games played), 08-09- 64 points (73 games played), 09-10- 53 points (71 games played), and 11-12- 61 points, (78 games played). That is NOT worth 7 million dollars and change a year.
So, we’ve got the fact that talent can’t be accurately assessed, and that we over pay for players.
Fast forward to this season. I personally think that the next 2 words I say are justification for his firing in and of itself;
Darcy has completely screwed up this situation. It’s mind numbing how bad this has been this year. Grigorenko was given a 5 game tryout in Buffalo to start this shortened season. He has 0 points over those 5 games. Yet he’s allowed to remain in Buffalo. He didn’t earn anything, so Buffalo keeps him, tosses him in and out of the lineup, and clearly he doesn’t fit in when he’s on the ice. Say what you want, Rolston was right when he mentioned that Grigorenko isn’t ready yet. He’s not, it was apparent after 5 games. So, instead of saving a year of his 3-year entry level deal, Darcy decides to keep him, and waste it, only to send Grigorenko back to Quebec in March 2013. Then in April, Grigorenko gets called back up, and sits on the bench for a few games, because Ron Rolston at least knows that Grigorenko isn’t ready for the NHL. The only reason that Grigorenko is in the lineup tonight, is to get him experience in the final 3 games of this season.
What should have happened? Grigorenko should have been sent to Quebec after 5 games in Buffalo. Once Quebec’s season ended, he should have been sent to Buffalo, if no space in the lineup, send him to Rochester to give the Amerks a little more offensive firepower heading into the AHL playoffs.
The Grigorenko debacle brings me to my next point. A GM is supposed to put together a team that compliments each other, and help put a team together of players who play well with each other. I’ve felt for quite a long time that the Sabres don’t have balanced lines, or players that compliment each other. Darcy can’t put together teams that work well together, or play consistently together.
Which brings me to my final point (and strongest so I feel). Let’s look at Buffalo’s final spot in the standings from the start of the 07-08 season until now.
07-08- 90 Points- 10th place in the Eastern Conference
08-09- 91 Points- 10th place in the Eastern Conference
09-10- 100 Points- 3rd Place in the Eastern Conference- Division Winner eliminated in the 1st round to the Boston Bruins (4 games to 2)
10-11- 96 Points- 7th in the Eastern Conference- Eliminated in the 1st round by the Philadelphia Flyers (4 games to 3)
11-12- 89 Points- 9th place in the Eastern Conference
12-13- Point total to be determined- Buffalo has been eliminated from the playoffs. Looks like they’ll finish around 10-12 place. Currently tied with New Jersey with 44 points and 10th place. Plus, once again, Buffalo is in need of a rebuild. So from the 07-08 season until now, there’s no championships, and not even a playoff series win for the Sabres.
So, with the exception of the 09-10 season, Darcy Regier puts teams on the ice that either just squeak into the playoffs, or just miss the playoffs, generally in 9th or 10th place.
There’s no doubt that he’s consistent. He’s consistently not good enough. He keeps putting teams together that either barely get into the playoffs, or are just on the outside of the final playoff spot come the end of the season.
That type of consistency should not allow a GM to keep his job.
Looking at all these facts, I feel that I’m just scratching the surface as to the amount of problems that the Sabres have with Darcy Regier at the helm. While he has had 16 years in Buffalo, he has yet to bring the Buffalo Sabres a Stanley Cup. To bring the point home, the Leafs fired Brian Burke, who struggled to build a team in Toronto that could make the playoffs. Well, with a new GM this year, the Leafs have clinched their playoff birth for the first time since 2004.
Have I made my point?
In every sport, you assess how your team is playing, and whether or not certain players are going to start delivering or have had their chance. Most people get a few years to prove what they can do, and are either rewarded with a nice contract, or get moved to a different team. Not a lot of people get 16 years to prove that they’re capable of winning a championship. The question to ask is, can Darcy put a Stanley Cup Championship team on the ice in Buffalo?
After 16 years, we have our answer.
Follow me on Twitter- @SabresBTB. I’ll be chatting a little bit during tomorrow night’s game (have a late meeting), and I’ll miss the final game of the year due to softball starting. I will pop on and off to discuss off season moves (and hopefully Darcy’s firing).
As always, Thanks for reading!!!