By Mike Harrington
So Sportsnet Insider and ex-NHLer Nick Kypreos, joined by John Shannon and Scott Morrison, set Sabreland on its ear last night with his "report" that Darcy Regier is on the hot seat. If you missed it, click below to play it and then keep reading for some thoughts.
"No truth to the report" is the official comment from the Sabres today, given to both yours truly and WGR Radio in the 8 a.m. hour. Fair enough. You wouldn't expect them to say otherwise for one thing. But at the same time, if something was in fact going down, they wouldn't say that either. You'd get a no-comment or you might not even get any answer to your inquiry.
(I'm not going to get into the credibility of another media outlet other than to say if you're going to breathlessly make a claim like this, it would be nice if you didn't identify Ken Sawyer as the Sabres' team president. The president, of course, is Ted Black.)
So let's think a little deeper on this one. Should Regier be fired? In the eyes of just about everyone, sure. But why now and not, say, July 2, 2007? But more seriously, why now and not May, 2013?
If you're going to endure "suffering" and you're going to rebuild, why would you let the same old GM hire a coach without interviewing anyone else, run the draft, do little in free agency, do nothing with Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek, go through training camp -- and then fire him eight games into the season?
And on the other side of things, if the Sabres did put Regier on some kind of notice, why would he not have spent the summer stocking up on some veterans trying to win a few games to make sure his job stayed safe so he'd be able to see through the rebuild?
Regier, remember, got a contract extension from owner Terry Pegula that was announced the day before last season's opener. And in his one "interview" after the season on the Sabres' paid program on WGR, Pegula rhetorically asked host Kevin Sylvester, "What has Darcy done wrong?" Those would be pretty embarrassing statements to have to backtrack on so quickly. Talk about changing on the fly.
(Pegula wouldn't want to hear my answer to his question but that's not the point. That's what he said. So be it).
As for the "big news" from Kypreos on possible replacements, News columnist Bucky Gleason has only written former Sabres player and coach (and still current Lewiston resident) Rick Dudley as a good candidate about 100 times the last few years. Gleason first mentioned ex-Sabres player and current Pittsburgh assistant GM Jason Botterill in a column all the way back on Jan. 2, 2011, and wrote in another column in March that the Sabres should hire Dudley as the GM and bring in Botterill as his assistant and heir apparent.
It's obvious to anyone who has been in First Niagara Center lately that the "clarion call" (apologies to Black) has never been louder for Regier to get pink-slipped. Those "Fi-re Dar-cy" chants eminanting from Section 317 near the press box spread around the upper level during that dreary Columbus game. And fans can have impact with such actions, as they did with Ron Wilson in Toronto. If it continues and if the number of empty seats grows, you wonder how far Pegula will feel his back is against the wall. After all, he did once say "Lindy ain't goin nowhere" and we know what happened there.
Sabres fans are going to hear a lot of these kinds of reports in the coming months, especially about Vanek and Miler, and will need to ferret out what's legitimate from what seems to be just thrown at the wall hoping something sticks. Last point: Kypreos had Miller about to be traded any day in May. Seems like No. 30 got a win on Long Island last night in the game I was watching.
taggedDarcy Regier | TV/Radio/Media