Right now, I’m disgusted, as is a large portion of the hockey fan base in Western New York. I’m sure I’ll slowly begin to get over it once the season starts and a sure-to-be-good team takes the ice. But, this team’s management isn’t going anywhere, and after the series of blunders they’ve made, their presence doesn’t bode well for the future. In any event, they can go a long way toward sating my unquenchable thirst for vengeance (which would be in the form of egging Larry Quinn’s car and letting wild chimps loose in his house) with the following five steps:
5. Re-sign Thomas Vanek and Dainius Zubrus, but put stipulations in their contracts that they can’t become fat and lazy bums just because they just cashed in on free agency.
(Ed. note: I started writing this about three days before Vanek signed for an outrageous $50 million contract, and Zubrus hustled off to Jersey. One outta two ain’t bad.)
4. Lure Jay McKee out of St. Louis. You’ve got cap space and his wife is from here. He was drafted by the Sabres. He loves Buffalo; Buffalo loves him. Get it done. Trade whoever you need to to get him back. His toughness and locker room leadership is sorely missed.
3. Start negotiating with players DURING the season. They’ve lost not only heart-and-soul players, but also millions of dollars with each day they wait to re-sign players to longer-term deals. Briere would’ve signed a $3 million a year deal before this past season. Instead, he got paid $5M and expected a raise when the season ended. He’s now in Philadelphia. Had he been treated better, Chris Drury might not be wearing another team’s jersey right now either.
2. Fire Larry Quinn. He blew it his during his first tenure with Ted Nolan and John Muckler, and he’s well on his way to blowing it again with a series of ridiculous decisions, and not just with the Sabres. He’s desperate to get Bass Pro to build their newest store here, but keeps making concession after concession to the point that it’s so radically different from the original plan that the negatives of bringing the sporting goods store to Buffalo outweigh the positives. I’ll elaborate on this another time. He also has a terrible haircut.
1. Get rid of those god-awful uniforms and bring back the real blue-and-gold, as is. No new crappy, new-age designs, no marketing committees analyzing the current trends in uniforms. Just bring back the good ole’ meat and potatoes unis that are still among the best in the history of the NHL.
And thus, my coverage of the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres comes to an end. On to the Bills and a .500 record!