At a time when Buffalo Sabres management is asking you to have faith in the people in charge, a recent comment by Brian Burke might make you even more depressed about the short term future of the hockey club.
Amidst the team’s struggles over the last month and a half, Sabres President Ted Black has maintained that the jobs of General Manager Darcy Regier and Head Coach Lindy Ruff are safe. So if you were looking for a shake up, you’ll have to look elsewhere, with the only remaining option being the roster. When asked recently if the G-M was working the phones, Black said “ I can tell you with 100% certainty that he’s doing his job.”
The question is how many General Managers around the league are eager to deal with him? This is where Burke comes into the picture. The Toronto Maple Leafs G-M had some interesting comments about Regier during a recent interview. When asked whether there were some G-M’s he just didn’t like to deal with, Burke said there were some guys he was more comfortable with than others.
Burke explained that if you skin a guy in a deal, he’ll never call you back again and that the best trades benefit both teams. “Guys that aren’t realistic and you can’t make deals with, pretty soon you conclude why am I going to waste an hour going through my roster with this guy when I can never make a deal” Burke said.
Burke added there are probably 10 G-M’s he’s never made a deal with and then specifically mentioned Regier who Burke said he’s made one deal with. I believe it was the Brad May for Geoff Sanderson trade when Burke was with the Canucks. As to Regier, the Leafs G-M said “we’re great friends and he’s a good guy but when we’re talking players, he’s talking one language and I’m talking a different language. That means one of us is unreasonable and I think its him.”
Let me say first off those words did come from Brian Burke who seems to be a fairly strong minded, strong opinioned individual who sometimes comes across as an ornery guy who might be difficult to deal with in trade situations. But it made me think if he feels that way about Darcy, how many other G-M’s have that same feeling.
My perception of Regier had always been he was a loyal soldier following marching orders. From the tail end of the Knox regime(with Larry Quinn as his boss), through the Rigas era and the Golisano ownership(with Quinn once again serving as his boss), I figured most if not all of the decisions he made were done so under a number of constraints placed on him by those above him in the organization.
But that perception changed when Terry Pegula took over and on a recent show, Ted Black told us the only constraint placed on Darcy is to stay within the cap. He said there is no list of players who can’t be traded and that Darcy is free to do whatever is in the best interests of the organization.
When the story came out that Anaheim was open to dealing pretty much anybody on their roster and a top line center like Ryan Getzlaf could be available, those Burke comments made me even more concerned. First, because Ducks G-M Bob Murray used to work for Burke and the two remain good friends and trade partners. Secondly, it made me think the whole notion that Darcy is too loyal to his core players and isn’t willing to take a risk unless he feels he is clearly winning a trade is 100% accurate.
I took a look at all of the transactions made by the Sabres in Darcy’s tenure to see how many times he made an in season deal that wasn’t in the same month as the trade deadline. The names I came up with are: Geoff Sanderson for Brad May in 1998, Vladimir Tsyplakov for a draft pick in 2000, Jacob Klepis for Vaclav Varada in 2003 and a waiver claim on Matt Ellis in 2008. Not exactly the most inspiring list.