By John Vogl
Darcy Regier says he understands that Sabres fans have suffered. He's willing to bet they'd be OK with suffering more if the pain results in a Stanley Cup.
The Sabres' bet is that Regier is the one who can bring that championship.
Regier and team President Ted Black wrapped up the 2013 season today with a news conference in First Niagara Center. As they move toward next season, Black made it clear the Sabres will do so with Regier in the general manager's chair, which he's sat in since 1997.
"I don’t take any of this for granted in any way," Regier said. "I’m extremely grateful, not just for this opportunity but for being here even on a day like today; this is great. The reality of it is if I didn’t have the confidence that I in the general manager’s position, along with the people I work with, could accomplish building a Stanley Cup winner, I wouldn’t be here."
The Sabres have missed the postseason during seven of the last 11 years under Regier, including the past two. He points to the team's Eastern Conference finals appearances in 2006 and '07 as proof he can build a winner.
"There’s unfinished business there," Regier said. "I have a lot more insight into an experience, and I’ve learned a lot more in that process. I’m not an old man. My goal is to come to work every day learning something new, and it hasn’t changed, and I am.
"I recognize that you can look at the performance of the team, and it doesn’t reflect it. I can tell you that, just as I told you before, we have gone with more determination in a very distinct direction, which is about the Stanley Cup. So I feel good about it. I love the opportunity.
"I understand what we’re talking about here. I understand our fan base, and I would like to think that people will give up some suffering in order to win a Stanley Cup. I’m willing to do it. I believe our fan base is willing to do it.
"We certainly don’t want to extend it for a long period of time. We want to make it as short as possible, and that’s the goal."
Regier's first order of business will be to determine who will coach the team. Ron Rolston served in an interim role since taking over for Lindy Ruff in February.
"Ron’s situation will be that he and I will sit down over the next week, maybe couple of weeks, re-evaluate the season and have discussions about our relationship going forward," Regier said. "I would add that I think he did a very good job under trying circumstances. But again, we’ll address that down the road."
Regier was also non-committal about the futures of Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller, saying neither, one or both could be back next year depending on the trade market.
Black addressed the Sabres' decision to hike season-ticket prices 4 percent.
"Of the 4 percent, 2 percent is never going to see our bottom line," Black said. "It goes straight to the players and into the pool throughout the league. The entire process allows this franchise to still qualify unencumbered for revenue sharing. … There’s an obligation to raise money so that you don’t jeopardize that revenue stream.
“It wasn’t caused by the CBA, but that’s just the realities of it.
"Even with the 4 percent increase, we’re still in the bottom quarter in terms of what our prices are. You can probably make an argument on supply-and-demand basis that tickets should be much, much higher because of demand."
To hear the entire news conference, which lasted about 45 minutes, click the audio file below.
taggedDarcy Regier | Ted Black