Can’t We Just Be Happy…
With a new owner, a resurgent GM and money to spend the Buffalo Sabres made their fair share noise this off season. When all the dust had settle from the wildest, fastest, and craziest free agency I’d ever seen in a 24 hour period, I saw Buffalo as winners. I’m sitting there on my lunch break listening to WGR Friday afternoon and encouraged by what I was hearing. Players we’re flying off the market left and right, all the while, the Sabres were waiting to make their next move.
With a new tougher, experience defense core that has to please Ryan Miller, Buffalo looked for another offensive weapon. I think what is over looked was the fact that Drew Stafford was already resigned which is a HUGE boost. Stafford proved that talent may take some time and tallied 31 goals in only 62 games last season. He was on pace to score 40 plus goal this year people! But the front office wanted more and rightfully so. So the Sabres opened their checkbook and shot for the stars (no pun intended), going after Dallas’ Brad Richards.
I can’t even remember the last time the Buffalo Sabres went after a top 10 free agent, let alone the most sought after player on the market. But nonetheless the Sabres took of their gloves and threw their hat in the ring. I wasn’t sure that we would get such a high profile player in the first place but people around the area thought we had a chance. They had a point; we have great young talent in Gerbe, Myers and Ennis. Proven talent with Vanek, Roy, Pominville, and Stafford. Two veteran defenseman to solidify a blue line in front of arguably the best goalie in the world. There’s logic why Richards ‘might’ come here. But, and the biggest but out of them all is, Richards is single bachelor unlike Regehr and Erhoff. You see it all the time in the MLB, NBA and NFL, ‘single’ players want to go where there is nightlife and things to do and Buffalo, in all its glory, has failed at times to draw the big name bachelors. New York, LA, Dallas etc seem to get most of the big free agent signs for whatever reasons.
The Sabres stuck to their guns and went to plan B and pick up a second tier forward in Villie Leino. A fine deal, picking up a young (27 year old player) that in just his first four seasons he has shown a break out year, much like Stafford, and that he can perform in the postseason, where in 2010 had 21 points in 19 games in the playoffs. Sounds like a good player to me AND on top of it we DID NOT resign Tim Connolly so Leino is a HUGE upgrade as he will take Connolly spot as the 2nd line center. But some Sabres fan just can’t be happy…
Listen to the radio again today all you start to hear is, ‘Well I think we might have over paid for Erhoff and Leino.” ARE YOU SERIOUS? Let me get this straight because blood wants to squirt out my ears. First when we had Golisano and every off season we didn’t make a move or we just resigned the same players over and over again, hence Connolly, Hecht, Pominville etc. nobody was happy. Fans weren’t happy because, and I quote “we wouldn’t spend the money to bring players in.” Now… we have an owner who is willing to open his pockets and sign players BUT INSTEAD your upset or worried that we overpaid for a guy!? It drives me crazy sometimes.
Please please please Buffalo fans just take a step back and realize where we were last off season or even the one before that… we were signing Mike Grier, Rob Niedermayer, Tim Connolly and largely over paying for Thomas Vanek BECAUSE WE HAD TOO, TO MATCH THE OFFER FROM EDMONTON. That’s all I ask, just be happy and realize that this is a new era and Pegula is sticking to his word of spending money to bring a Stanley Cup to our beloved town.