Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Waiting Game

It's been over 48 hours since free agency began, and I feel like a five-year-old on a cross-country trip:

"Darcy, are we there yet?"

48 hours and no defenseman to speak of. 48 hours and only one signing (no offense, Patrick Lalime, I'm sure you're a very nice goalie). 48 hours and a market shrinking faster than we all would like.

Darcy, you know that signing Goose wouldn't hold me over forever, right?

According to the Buffalo News, Darcy did not even have serious talks with Brooks Orpik. I understand that he was probably asking for a lot of money at the start, but he ended up signing with Pittsburgh for only $3.75 million per season, a price I would like to think Darcy would have been willing to pay. However, there is a good chance that this was his "hometown discount" price for the Pens, so we'll never know just what his agent told Darcy he wanted that seemed so pricey.

Now, the Sabres are left with one of two choices:

Door Number One: The trade. Darcy seems most fond of this choice, and he has had much success choosing this door in the past (see Jochen Hect, Toni Lydman, and two guys named Briere and Drury). John Vogl brought up an interesting trade idea on Sabres Edge yesterday - Max for Jay McKee. I know Jay is injury prone and getting older, but everything we're missing he has - grit, defensive toughness, shot-blocking, leadership, veteran presence our boys know and respect. Sometimes I think Jay is the ex-Sabre we've missed most since he left considering what he brought to the table. However, he was one of my favorites, so I'm probably just biased.

Door Number Two: Free agency. Contrary to popular belief, there are some UFA defeseman left out there. One of them is Jason Smith, who WGR reports has had preliminary talks with the Sabres. Yes, he's slow, but he's a defeseman's defenseman who's not afraid to hit or get hit. One look at this picture should tell you that I fully support signing him, he's a mucker and grinder through and through:

Speaking of muckers and grinders, guess who was on the radio yesterday?

That's right - Paul Gaustad!

Goose joined Schopp and the Bulldog to talk about his new contract and his Eurotrip with Ryan Miller. It sounds like, much to our sadness they didn't meet up with Spacho; I guess Kotalik played tour guide instead (which is not nearly as funny). They also got to see matches at Wimbledon, which makes me very jealous (that tops my list for sporting events I would most like to attend).

Of course, Goose was humble as always, saying he told his agent that he was loyal to the Sabres because they gave him a shot in the NHL. That kind of loyalty is shrinking in pro sports, and it's nice to know that we have a guy like that on our team. He also said he's working out harder than ever after his sports hernia surgery, paying special attention to his core muscles. Now, if the mention of Paul Gaustad working on his abs doesn't make you sigh just a little bit, I don't know what will.
Wow, he's good looking.

Goose makes me happy, but so does the idea of a new defenseman. It's your move, Darcy, don't make me regret trusting you.


Heather B. said...

I think Jay is the former Sabre we've missed the most because he's the one that never really got replaced. We have more than enough offense to compensate for Briere and Drury really. But we definitely lacked the physical, tough presence on defense. Hopefully Rivet will take care of some of that.

(Jay is a personal favorite of mine too though so maybe I'm biased as well :-D)

Katie said...

I think Jay is the former Sabre we've missed the most because he's the one that never really got replaced.

I could not agree more, Heather. Our offensive numbers this year suggest that we really didn't miss Drury and Briere that much. However, the softening of our defense in the years since Jay left is unmistakable.

Hopefully Rivet will take care of some of that.

I was so excited when I heard about the trade - I feel like he could be the replacement for Jay that we've been searching for.