Friday, April 17, 2009

The one where I disagree with a lot of people

I've been relatively quiet throughout this whole discussion on the job security of Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier. That does not mean that I do not have an opinion.

It means that I understood that I would be seen as the voice of the supposedly mindless masses, and my point was already being stated by bloggers and radio hosts and journalists alike...only my point was the one that they were saying had no validity anymore.

I suppose I should just come out and say it...I like Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff and think that both of them have done the best that they can with what they have been given.

You can start cursing me for drinking the Kool-Aid now, but I am happy that both men are staying with the team through next season.

I feel like I am probably in the minority today with this statement. I know I shouldn't have been reading the message boards today, but I think I almost had a coronary at 20 reading some of the things that people are saying about this. One person went so far as to say that today is worse than the day we lost Briere and Drury; another stated that this move will have Thomas Vanek on the phone with his agent demanding a trade.

So today I feel like I need to make my case for Lindy and Darcy; it's time for me to come out of the woodwork on this issue.

I'll begin with Darcy. Has he made mistakes as a G.M.? Yes. I hate to bring up the "D and B words" again, but any conversation about Darcy nowadays has to deal with his handling of the Drury and Briere situations. In all honesty, my only complaint with Darcy there has been that he went after the wrong guy. He chose to court Drury, who was looking for the first plane to NYC, over Briere. I can't fault him on his choice (who wouldn't have taken Chris over Danny that summer?), but I do wish he could have seen that Drury was no longer interested in playing here.

The Campbell trade? No problems with that one: I didn't want to overpay the human spin-o-rama machine. Signing all the players who underperformed this year to long-term contracts? Over the summer we were all cheering about how solid our "core" was looking for years to come. It's not Darcy's fault that these guys chose this year to have slumps or ignore their coach.

This brings me to Lindy. Let me preface these comments by saying that I have an extreme bias towards Lindy Ruff. He was one of my parents' favorite Sabres, so I grew up with them talking about how much heart he had as a player and how happythey were that he was coaching here. In my opinion, Lindy is the only coach I want behind the bench for the Sabres. He gets the city, the people and the way we want to see hockey played.

That has become the problem the last two seasons. It seems as if many of the Sabres, and some of the best ones at that, have tuned out what Lindy is trying to teach them about hard-working hockey, the kind of hockey that Buffalo fans wany to see. Is that really his fault? Some of these players are so stubborn that they would do whatever they wanted on the ice, regardless of who is coaching them.

As for Lindy's supposed failure as the "great motivator"? These are big boys; if they can't motivate themselves, then there is a much deeper problem than coaching on this team. As Ryan Miller said in his last interview, if they can't kick themselves in the butt to compete every night, they should not even bother coming onto the ice.

This is where I think the problem lies - in certain players on this team who either slack off or "go rogue" (as Paul Hamilton likes to put it) in games when they are needed the most. I know that it's unrealistic to say that we should trade many guys on this team and expect to get comparable assets in return, but it's what I hope Darcy can do to some extent this summer.

If October rolls around and I'm still looking at the same underachieving roster, then I'll be in the unhappy place that some of you are in today.


sabresfan88 said...

I'm with you.

Jill said...

Can I tell you my secret... I am OK with Lindy staying and glad Soupy is gone... he was crapping out when he left and got a ballooned salary. Lightening strike me dead and now all the rest of the blogger girls will now hate me :(

Katie said...

I'm with you.Thanks, sabresfan88. I was worried how this would go over, so it's nice to know that someone's on my side in this debate.

Katie said...

Jill, I'm waiting for the lightning to be sent my way from the blogging gods. It'll get me first, don't worry - I'm the one who started with these unpopular opinion shenanigans. Haha

Norm said...

I'm right with you too, Katie. I would have been truly disappointed in this franchise had Ruff been fired. I could have dealt with Darcy being gone - in fact, I'm not 100% convinced that keeping him is a good idea. This team needs a change to the atmosphere and attitude - and I'm not holding my breath waiting for Darcy to do it.

Katie said...

Norm, I, too, could have dealt with getting rid of Darcy. I guess I'm just willing to give him one more summer to try and make something work personnel-wise. The problem is so obvious that there is no way that any G.M. could just leave things as they are. I'm hoping that he doesn't prove me wrong...

dani said...

Well, we have been in the same boat for quite some time! Thats why I don't read the message boards.

Katie said...

Thats why I don't read the message boards.I really should blood pressure is high enough during hockey season. haha