Outside of just winning, hope has always been 2nd to me as far as keeping my sanity as a fan. You want something to latch onto. Mario Williams, Terry Pegula, EJ Manuel, the waterfront..There's just tons of brass rings we have all tried to grab onto. But at the end of the day it is about confidence. It is about selling me the idea that you have a plan and this or that team knows what they are doing. You want to get in that happy place. A place where you can visualize winning. Fuck, even having a chance is all I ask. You just want to know the right people are in place to tell you that if you listen to them, we can get there. I gotta say, the last 6 days with the news of the Bills "lifers" being meddlesome and now this with LaFontaine quitting have really killed the make believe hope we had around here.
What the hell is wrong with our sports teams? Can't they just sell us hope without it coming back as a used Pinto without an engine? Who the hell is running our sports teams at this juncture? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO US!? Fucken one team has the PR head in the "Inner circle" and the other team just fired their president after 4 months on the job! This doesn't happen within a decade of any sports city with two teams, but, here we are…6 days apart and I can't stop using fucken exclamation points!!!!!!!
Yes, maybe there's some silver lining that can be spun, but fuck that. I wanna yell! This is embarrassing. I can only imagine how many teams and hockey fans across the NHL are laughing at us right now. Gees..I've already come to the realization our teams on the field suck giant ass, but now our off the field activity are just as embarrassing and can be seen in tabloid chronicles at any given moment.
Just…why?!? Like any fan who is pissed off at the crap we've had to witness from both teams, I really don't have a side to pick for the Sabres. I think they are all a bunch of idiots at this point. Maybe some are bigger than others, but everyone is to blame for this mess. Let's hack to it!
Terry Pegula: Look, T-Pegs is a nice man. I'm happy as punch he's putting all his money into HarborCenter. Hope it changes everything for downtown Buffalo. However, he's not exactly been installing confidence in me in the 3 years he's been the team owner. In fact, when you start thinking we were better off with Golisano/Quinn.. My God, I feel my skin is about to fall off thinking that, you know you are in trouble. The guy is kind of an aloof and he hired LaFontaine after having fricken lunch with him when they were discussing concussions and boom…"You wanna run the Sabres?" It wasn't even an interview! I wish I could have a meeting with Pegula and see if I can run something of his empire.
Me: Hey, I'm a hack blogger, Terry. I can run the social network for the Sabres because I love them!
Terry: You are hired!
It is either Pegula is too impulsive when it comes to how to run his team (Let's hire Pat to run the team over brunch and concussion talk!) or too damn passive (Keeps Ruff/Darcy way past when they should have been fired).
Also, there have been a few reports about "Pegula's inner circle" clashing with LaFontaine. Who the fuck is in the inner circle? Black? Bootista? I have to say, I don't like Pegula's inner circle getting involved at all. I've had enough of Ralph Wilson's cronies and Larry Quinn's BS to know that I don't want any sort of dickhead suits near my teams. Memo to Terry's inner circle: Stick to building HarborCenter and leave my hockey team across the street alone.
Pat LaFontaine: I don't know what to believe here. Do we really believe Pat decided to change his mind 4 months into his gig because he missed Long Island? Fuck no. I've heard through the grapevine that LaFontaine has always wanted this job and his interests were predetermined for the last few years. Seems like the Sabres are trying to pull the old Marv Levy/GM card of cleaning up someone else's mess and then flying away like he was Mary Poppins when the mission was complete with the resigning stuff…Except Marv got two years, not 3 months. Oh, and he sucked at it.
So, where the hell did this go wrong? Did he really want to keep Nolan? If we believe LaFontaine at his word, he said about 200 times that the new GM would have final say. All of a sudden, he changes his mind and puts pressure on Murray to keep Nolan? Then there are rumors about him wanting to keep Miller and butting heads with Murray about trading him. Jesus Christ. My head hurts now.
It just seems like there's a lot of contradicting BS here. Everyone always talks about how LaFontaine is like this honorable Ned Stark hockey diplomat, yet, he sounds like a dictator who has been lying to everyone if all of this is true. Was it all about Nolan/Miller or was it about power in general? Were Pegula's inner circle in Terry's ears? Seriously, I have had it with "inner circles" for both our fucken teams!
I know it is easy to say "He quit his job with the NYI" as evidence that he's not exactly a lifer in front offices, but shit, that organization has been a disaster forever. Plus, the rumor was that he quit after they fired the GM who happened to be on the job for only 6 weeks. I mean, we would have stormed the arena if our new GM got fired after six weeks on the job and claimed dysfunctional holy hell.
It just feels very dirty with LaFontaine and part of me doesn't want me to believe he'd be just a 2nd rate politician type here with all these double-crosses. If everything is true that he tried to force feed Nolan/Miller down Murray's throat, then I have a huge problem with him, especially since he told everyone it would be up to the GM in regards to hockey matters.
In the end, and there is probably not an end because more leaks are going to spring up, maybe the Sabres viewed LaFontaine as nothing more than a figurehead. Kind of like Levy as the GM. LaFontaine may have just been someone who was going to make fans feel good about the direction of the team and appease Terry Pegula's fandom. Yet, through all the fan fair and the whole knight in shinning armor crap, maybe LaFontaine wanted more.
He wanted power and to be able to have a say in hockey operations, which supposedly he had the final say, but was also on the record to say that Murray would pick the players and coach. Again..My head hurts when it comes to figuring out who the hell should have final say. Maybe we should just blow this fucken thing up again.
Tim Murray- Meet the winner!!! As it stands, he'll probably be the one true voice in charge of the hockey operations, unless they bring in another hockey operations guy. Seriously, I never want to hear about the hockey structure of an organization again. Four months ago I hated having just one voice in the Sabres organization (See: Darcy). Then it sounded great to have all these new voices with LaFontaine, Craig Patrick and Murray. Now, the main idea is that we have too many damn cooks in the kitchen who don't know how to cook shit.
It seems like anyone who is fine with this mess (Jeremy White and like 3 people) is happy with how Murray has power because he traded Ryan Miller. I don't know. I'm not about to blow kisses at Murray because he's nicer to the media and presents himself as being aggressive. He's made one trade. It looks good on paper, but as I've said for the last 200 years, you have to make use of your picks and prospects. When you are rebuilding, you won't know what you've got into until the building is open. The Sabres squad we see now won't be what we see in 3 years. So, I'll applaud or hang the guy in 2017.
If all this stuff went down because Murray didn't want Nolan, why the hell wasn't this established during the interview process? Did Murray say he'd try working with Nolan to see if it would work and LaFontaine thought it was good enough for him? Did LaFontaine really mean he'd give full autonomy to Murray about keeping the coach? What about Miller? Didn't they fucken discuss what they'd do with him during the interview? Shouldn't all of this been discussed before? We all knew Miller was going to get traded at some point after last season. Did they forget? Highly unlikely.
Ted Nolan- This is where things get just stupid.
#Sabres VP of Communications Mike Gilbert says organization continues to work on extension for Ted Nolan.
— Adam Benigni (@AdamBenigni) March 2, 2014
Um…This makes zero sense. I would have assumed the Sabres were going to kick Ted to the curb with LaFontaine leaving. But are they really trying to extend him? It would make zero sense if you want to believe that LaFontaine/Murray were butting heads about Nolan's future. If Nolan gets an extension, then I don't know what LaFontaine and others were arguing about. I mean, was Ryan Miller getting traded that big of a death knell for the relationship? We all knew Miller wanted to go to a winner, right?
LaFontaine said multiple times it was about Miller wanting to stay here in regards to a new deal. Anyways, my opinion of Ted is the same: His coaching career is incomplete and I'm pretty much indifferent about him staying or going. Now, if you think he'd leave voluntarily because the guy who hired him is gone, you haven't been reading his resume over the last 7 years. Where the hell is he going? Teach pee wee hockey in Latvia? I'd stay in Buffalo and so would you.
Final word: I'm a mess. Actually, this whole thing is a mess. It seems like a bizarre love triangle that just went belly up. You have "Pegula's Inner circle", LaFontaine/Nolan, and Murray. What the fuck is next? Would you really be shocked if more people get fired? This is just a mess and I'm babbling on now.
All I know is this: In the last 55 weeks, the Sabres have traded 3 of their captains, traded the face of their franchise in Thomas Vanek..wait..That was five months ago..They traded the OTHER face of the franchise in Ryan Miller…they are on their 3rd coach…They fired their GM…And they hired, and maybe fired their president. That's a lot of turmoil and material you couldn't sell to Hollywood as a disaster film because it would be too unrealistic. Maybe this will all become a happy ending and eliminating one voice in the organization will help. However, I know better than to just grab onto hope at this juncture with either team. The Sabres have a endless history of stupidity to refer to when it comes to believing.
It just seems like the Sabres don't have a hockey plan, instead, they are perfecting their plan for hockey dysfunction.