Joe: Why does the last day of the trade deadline make me feel like I’ve just woken up on Christmas Day with coal in my stocking? Fans in Canada are calling in from work to watch TSN coverage. I’m suppose to have fun today. I’m suppose to have visions of players coming to this team and putting us over the hump. Unfortunately, Today’s a day that makes me get whiplash from saying, “They got what? Why couldn’t we make that move?!”
Apologist: Dude, you can’t just make a trade for the sake of a trade.
Joe: I know that, but you can still better your team.
Apologist: How do know you can better your team? You’re not in Darcy’s office.
Joe: Um, because other teams are doing it.
Well, it doesn’t come cheap. Those teams are giving up their youth. Darcy has a plan. He’s all about building from within. Don’t fall in love with what other teams are doing. If your best friend jumped off the bridge, would you do the same?Joe:
If I could take Darcy with me, I’d be more than happy to jump off a higher bridge.
Apologist: What’s your problem with Regier? He’s got a plan. He’s doing the exact same thing you did with your lame ass “If I were a Bills GM” series. He’s building his team through the draft. He’s got great young talent in Portland. Didn’t you see what Tyler Ennis did this month?
Joe: Um, no… because I don’t care about minor league hockey.
Well, he only was named player of the month for the AHL
. The dude is on fire. He’s got 60 points in 60 games this season.Joe:
So…I guess I’m suppose to think his skills should translate to the NHL?Apologist:
First, I don’t care what a player does in the AHL
. You know how many goals Drew Stafford had his last year in minors? 22 goals in 34 games. The minors don’t mean crap to me. Sorry, but you have to play at least 30 games in the pros for me to have an opinion about you.
Apologist: You have a point, but take a look at the last two Stanley Cup Champions. The Penguins and Red Wings core players have all been home grown talent. That’s exactly how Darcy wants to build his teams.
Joe: Dude, I’m all for building from within. The problem is that I don’t have confidence in Regier and company. He’s been the GM since 1997. How many Cups has he won? How many all-star home grown players have the Sabres produced?
Apologist: Do you expect every player drafted to be an all-star? You’re not giving Darcy the credit he deserves. Where did Ryan Miller come from? He didn’t just walk into Darcy’s office and say, “Dude, I’m a good goalie. But because I talk like I’m stoned, no one wants me.” The guy was scouted by Darcy’s top aides. Lets not forget Tyler Myers, Brian Campbell and Thomas Vanek. Those guys have developed rather nicely. Pommer and Roy may drive people crazy, but they still can be effective. The majority of the Sabres players are all home grown talent. That should tell you something.
Joe: Tell me what? Just because all these guys on the team were Sabres draft picks, doesn’t mean they are all good. The Sabres for the must part overhype their picks. I hear you on Miller and Myers. But what about these guys? Mika Noronen, Dmitri Kalinin, Mika Nornen, Barrett Heisten, Artem Krbukov, Jiri Novotny, Keith Ballard, Daniel Paille and Marek Zagrapan have all been first round flops.
Apologist: Well, not everyone hits on their draft picks, you know?
Joe: I know they don’t, but if you’re going to tell me that the Sabres only way of building the team is through the draft, then you have to hit on those picks.
Apologist: Oh, you just hate Regier. You’re one of those idiots who call WGR and mention these dumb trade scenarios: Thomas Vanek for Eric Staal or lets give up the world for Kovalchuk. You don’t realize the ramifications of the cap and the amount of prospects you’re giving up.
Joe: Bro, first off… I’m not one of those idiots. I have never asked for the Sabres to go out and get Kovalchuk. I just wanted my Stu Barnes for Matt Barnaby type trade. You can build from within all you want. But why can’t Darcy do what he does best? Make trades. I actually don’t hate Darcy. But if you look at his resume, his trade record is actually pretty dam good.
Apologist: What? The Dainius Zubrus and Dominic Moore deal? Even I being the biggest Regier fan, didn’t think those trades worked out.
Joe: No, no. You see, my biggest problem with you is that you probably didn’t start watching the Sabres play until after the lockout. You know, when all those fans came out of the woodwork and claimed to be the biggest hockey fan ever. They probably didn’t even know what offsides was before the lockout.
Apologist: Hey, screw you dickh#$d. I love hockey. How would know if I just started watching hockey in 2005?
Joe: I’m not trying to be confrontational. It just seems like the Sabres fan base tend to forget about what the Sabres did before the lockout. You know, the Sabres weren’t born in 2005. They have a history. All I’m trying to say is Darcy’s best work came from trades.
Joe: Well, look at where Chris Drury and Daniel Briere came from? They weren’t home grown talent. They were actually traded for, get this…a combination of Chris Gratton (who took more days off than President Bush), Rhett Warner and Keith Ballard. That’s it!
Apologist: Well, screw Drury and Briere. I hate them, and love how they are struggling with their new teams. I rooted against the USA because Drury was on the team! Die Chris, DIE! ..HAHAHA!
Joe: Stop with the hate on those guys. I for one, wish they were still here.
Apologist: Oh, please! You see how much money they are making now? They are bums!! Why don’t you go wash Bucky’s laundry since he claims it’s so dam expensive. You both love bringing up the duo leaving Buffalo, maybe you two were met for each other!
Joe: Um…no. Look, lets not go backwards, I don’t want to talk about the co-captains. Had the Sabres been proactive after 2006, they would have signed them to cheaper contracts. They didn’t, and learned their lesson. I just don’t think you have to take pleasure in their failures because Bucky and Sully miss them.
Apologist: Lets just change the subject because the Drury/Briere argument is passe. The topic will make your readers tune out, just like the so-called “New Hockey Fans” would do if they saw a Devils vs Sabres game.
Joe: Haha. That’s true. But besides the Drury/Briere trades, Darcy has pulled off some whoppers. There was this guy once, his name was Mike Wilson and he played defense. Let me tell you..This dude was as soft as the Pillsbury dough boy. He was a former first round draft pick and was dreadful. Darcy didn’t have anymore patience with the guy and in 1999, he traded him for Rhett Warrener. Ask any fan from those teams, and they will tell you how good Warrner was.
Apologist: You mean..Darcy gave up on a first rounder?
Joe: Yeah! Can you believe that?! And that isn’t the tip of the iceberg. There was this other guy named Michal Grosek. The dude was the exact copy of Drew Stafford. He had the size, the skills, and a nice shot. But he just could never put it together on a nightly basis. Fans were calling for his head worse than Derek Roy. Darcy decided enough was enough and traded him for Doug Gilmour and JP Dumont. You remember JP?
Apologist: Yeah! He was good after the lockout. The Sabres should have kept him over Max and Kotalik.
Joe: I agree. And you know Matt Barnaby?
Apologist: Yeah, he’s on ESPN and is really popular in Buffalo.
Joe: Yes, he is. But at one point in Barnaby’s career..he kind of had a breakdown. He just lost all of his confidence and was rubbing teammates the wrong way. But that didn’t stop The Regierantor! In 1999, Barnaby was traded to the Penguins for Stuuuuuuuu Barnes. Let me tell you, that was a great trade. Besides Hasek, Barnes was the Sabres best player in their run to the Stanley Cup Finals. I’d take Stu Barnes in his prime over a lot of the current Sabres.
Apologist: Interesting. I didn’t realize Darcy even knew how to work the phone for trades.
Joe: Oh, he did. And get this! He actually traded for rentals!?
Apologist: Wait, rentals? That’s…That’s blasphemy in the Regier camp.
Joe: I know! And I’m not talking about Dominic Moore rentals.
Joe: In 2001/2002 season, Darcy traded for Steve Heinze and Donald Audette. They were merely rentals, but played exceptionally well down the stretch and into the playoffs. Joe Juenau was also a rental, and was a key component for the Sabres Stanley Cup finalist team.
Apologist: A-HA! I’m not falling for your non-sense, Joe. This isn’t Happy Days or Lets Make a Deal. All those moves were made without there being a cap in the NHL. You don’t get the economics-like I do! The market is completely different now. People have to worry about the cap. Like Regier has said all along, you don’t understand the market.
Joe: Well, you’re a right about the cap. Teams have to worry about it. However, it hasn’t stopped other teams from dealing. Now, the league may be different from 8 years ago. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that trades happen just as much now as they did then. In 2002, there were 17 deadline deals made on final day of trading. Last year, the number was 26. So, don’t give me the market or cap excuse. Teams get better. Teams have added guys like Marian Hossa and Brian Campbell.
Apologist: Yeah…and did Hossa and Campbell guide the those teams to the cup? No.
Joe: I swear, you must be related to Darcy. He said the exact same thing last week on WGR about Hossa. You’re right, those teams didn’t win the cup. But you’re acting as if those guys and countless others did NOT have a hand in helping those teams get far after the deadline. I guess Hossa did nothing for the Penguins runner-up finish against the Red Wings two years ago.
Apologist: Even if deadline deals led to Stanley Cup Championships; look at the prospects that the Stanley Cup contenders give up.
Joe: Oh, Please! I’m so sick of having media shills from the Sabres who bring that up! Did the Thrashers become a powerhouse when they traded Hossa? How about all those veteran players the Oilers have traded over the years? Did the Oilers recapture Gretzky and Messier in return? I asked a month ago for someone to e-email an example of a deadline deal that put the seller in a great position for the future. I’m still waiting for that email. And since you have such a high regard for Regier, how did the Brian Campbell deal help the Sabres out? Man, if Steve Bernier could only play every night like his first night, that trade would have worked out.
Apologist: Um, well.. what about Tyler Ennis? He was a part of the Campbell deal.
Joe: Of course, Darcy’s ace in the hole. Every year the Sabres seem to have a Tyler Ennis up their sleeve. Before Ennis, it was Drew Stafford and Clarke MacArthur. Before those duds, there was Kotalik and Pyatt. Then there was Max. The list goes on and on. What do all these aces in the hole get us? Missing the playoffs 5 out of 7 years.
Apologist: Again, Joe..you’re not getting what Darcy is trying to accomplish. He’s building his team from the draft. Trading for rentals would only hurt the bigger picture. He’s building a team for the next 5 years.
Joe: Enough about building the future! I swear, the future is here! You want to know why? Ryan Miller is here. He’s your star. With Miller, the Sabres should be in the playoff picture for years to come. Instead of building for the future, why not build the team around him.
Apologist: Joe, Darcy is doing that with youth. Instead of signing overpriced free agents or trading rentals, the team is going to built for the next 5-7 years.
Joe: Look, all I ask is for Darcy to get creative. He proved before that he does have a flare for making a bold move. Why does his strategy have to be set in stone? Why must it be purely from the draft? Why can’t he see that Derek Roy and Pommer are wastes here? Why does he and Larry Quinn have to put down other teams for giving up too much for a star-player? It’s brain-washing, I tell you!
Apologist: Joe, it’s not fantasy hockey. From a business stand point, you have to make money for one thing. The Sabres are a small market team and aren’t going to be spending money as freely like the Rangers or Flyers would. However, don’t try and say the Sabres don’t spend any money. Their right below the max by a smudge.
Joe: No, no..I get that. They have spent the money. But I think their mind-set isn’t about the cap, it’s about making more coin. You see, all these Gerbes and Webers in the minor league are talent that’s going to come cheap. You see, there’s a reason why Portland plays at the HSBC Arena once a year. They want to showcase all these young kids and over hype them. So fans, like you, will constantly think that they have stars in the making. That’s why you get constant updates on Sabres broadcasts about there prospects. That’s why Sabres.com has introduction videos for guys who will never make it to the parent club. It’s so when Darcy comes out and decides not to resign Tallinder and Lydman, you can at least hold onto the notion that these kids are going to play well.
Apologist: First off, you don’t know if the Sabres are going to sign Hank or Toni. Second, you have no clue if these prospects in Portland may be better than Tallinder or Lydman. That’s what you don’t get, their trying to build from youth.
Joe: Bro, I get that. We went through it an hour ago! All I’m saying is that I’d like for Darcy to be more open minded in getting his team better. His strengths throughout his history has been trading. If Ryan Miller plays like he did in the Olympics, the Sabres will be making the playoffs for next seven years. Why can’t they take a chance giving up a prospect? Why are all the teams that are surrounding the Sabres, who aren’t river boat gamblers as dealers, trading to get better? That’s what pisses me off! This isn’t a team on the outside looking in. Their right there. Why must we always be worried about what’s going to happen four years from now?
Apologist: Well, you have to understand the market and the salary cap. Plus, Darcy told the BTN that he’s looking forward to the summer to be more active.
Joe: Huh? The summer now? It’s the same crap we heard when Larry Quinn said the Sabres were going to make changes and have the biggest top to bottom evaluation ever? That’s window dressing, my friend.
Apologist: How are you going to say it’s window dressing? You don’t know what their plans are in the future. You don’t know what the market place is like.
Joe: Oh, the market! The market! The Market!!! Will you shut-up!! Every year we hear the same market excuse from Darcy. My god, you’d think Darcy was accountant or stock broker. When does the market ever have a good year?
Apologist: Joe, this isn’t fantasy hockey!? You can’t just go out there and trade this guy for that guy.
Joe: Why? Everyone else is doing it though! I wouldn’t shed a tear if any of the top 6 forwards were traded.
Apologist: Joe, we just aren’t going to agree on it. Darcy has a plan and I have faith in it.
Joe: Well history shows that Darcy’s draft expertise has proven to be quite average. If Regier had taken over as the GM in 2006, I’d have more faith. But I’ve seen his drafts for too many years to remember. I’ve seen a number of players from the minors arrive on the scene and melt in the spotlight. I just think he needs to broden his horizon.