By Alan Pergament
Buffalo Sabres Owner Terry Pegula certainly picked a safe place to conduct his first lengthy media interview in some time to talk about hockey matters when he visited a radio show produced by the National Hockey League team this morning.
The most memorable comment made in about a 30-minute conversation with "Sabres Hockey Hotline" host Kevin Sylvester on WGR radio probably was Pegula's answer to why General Manager Darcy Regier has kept his job despite fan outrage about his body of work.
"What has he done wrong?" asked Pegula.
I could almost hear newspaper sports columnists grinding their teeth.
Pegula essentially said Regier didn't have the same freedom he now has under his ownership.
Understandably,Sylvester gently asked questions of the guy who is paying his salary. He did mention that the core of the team has been dismantled but didn't supply a long list of grievances against Regier.
The most newsworthy comment from Pegula came when he said he would like to keep Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller and forward Thomas Vanek but added they have something to say about whether they stay.
In other words, he put the onus on the players, who have one year left on their contracts.
Pegula also said that Coach Ron Rolston was retained because he did a good job despite the trades of some key players after he was named interim coach after the firing of Lindy Ruff.
Sylvester did not bring up the issue of why Ruff was fired or how hard the team will pursue going up in the upcoming NHL draft.
But all in all, the host performed adequately in an interview that was done on the first-year anniversary of the program. It would have been totally unrealistic to expect Sylvester would have asked tougher followups to Pegula's answers.
But I am sure some journalists will pile on and list some things that they believe Sylvester did wrong.