August 7, 2010 - 10:33 AM
I've been out of pocket for a few days and admit to being completely baffled by parts of the Tim Kennedy affair. Have had several requests on my Twitter feed for thoughts on the matter so here goes, in no particular order:
1). The outcry would have been far, far less had this been for a player in the Adam Mair mold with similar stats rather than a guy from South Buffalo. Would anyone really care all that much about the waiving of a third-line player who was from, say, Minnetonka, Minnesota?
2). That said, the Sabres' brass blew it big-time. They continue to have no PR sense whatsoever. Didn't they think the fan base would be in an uproar about this kind of treatment for a hometown kid? And they dump him over $200,000? Bucky adroitly pointed out the millions -- yes, millions -- they've wasted the last few years on the likes of Drew Stafford, the 2008-09 version of Jochen Hecht, Maxim Afinogenov and even parts of Thomas Vanek's $50 million. So you dump a player with upside over $200,000?
3). There is no way -- I repeat, no way -- Darcy Regier or Lindy Ruff agreed with this move. Regier's gritted teeth act at his presser the other day proved that. I agree with Sully on this one -- the decision came completely via the spite of Larry Quinn and Tom Golisano. I thought Quinn had decided a couple years ago he was stepping out of hockey issues. After all, he was busy with Bass Pro. Oh right, he's not busy with that anymore. Guess he has time for hockey stuff again. Uh-oh.
4). I would like Regier, however, to say no to Quinn/Golisano for once. Tell them that what they're doing is wrong. And if they say, "Quit if you don't like it," he should. What GM puts up with this kind of penny-ante interference? With this kind of humiliation in public? How many times has Regier said buyouts are not part of the organization's philosophy? Then they make him stand up there and talk about a buyout? Quinn should have done that presser, not Regier.
5). Every time -- and I mean every time -- a Sabre goes to arbitration henceforth, we will ask Regier in advance if the player is getting waived if the team loses the case. They reap what they sow.
6). Nice change of culture. Tim Connolly and Stafford are still here and Kennedy is gone. Guess all those tears at the end-of-season presser were a good show. Guess the Sabres sat back and decided they're a 100-point team coming off a division title and not the team that went bust in the playoffs. Lovely.
7). What's your cap, Tom? What's your cap, Larry? What's your cap, Darcy? You owe the fans an answer. You expect 100 percent of their money for season tickets but you're going to only spend 85 percent of yours to build a winning team? By the way, Ryan Miller just turned 30. You might want to try to win now while he's at the peak of his career.
8). There are, however, things you have to look at from the Sabres' view. Throw out the South Buffalo angle -- and take down your signs from the windows in the bars there. Would you pay $1 million for a second-year player coming off a 10-goal, 26-point season? I wouldn't. I don't feel teams should be paying for potential for relatively untested players. Kennedy was a sixth-round draft pick, not a star first-rounder. The Sabres didn't even draft him, remember. He might turn into a 25-goal scorer someday and he can get his money then. Not now.
9). What if Kennedy scores, say, 22 goals this season with Buffalo? What would he have gotten next year in arbitration? The Clarke MacArthur Memorial $2.4 million decision? Craziness. You pay your top guys and the salary scale in this league is going to have the bottom guys making peanuts.
10). Kennedy agent Allain Roy bears responsibility too. In the end, Kennedy is going to pocket plenty of money, in the $300,000+ from the Sabres plus whatever he gets in his new deal. But this kid lived to play for the Sabres. His NHL career will not be the same with whoever he ends up with. Roy even told me that on the phone in the wake of the award. He knew that. He also knew the Sabres had no walkaway rights under $1.6 million so he gambled with his client, figuring they'd never buy out the hometown guy. Mistake.
Roy (and Kennedy) should have settled and not gone to the table. Seriously now, that's pretty arrogant to get 10 goals in your rookie year -- and bascially do nothing in one 19-game stretch as well as commit the game-losing mistake in a playoff game -- and think you're worthy of arbitration. No way.