Another guest contributor? Another guest contributor.
By Peter Berkes
I’m going to try to keep this brief. Last year, they lost me.
Fresh on the heels of another mediocre season and a prolonged, acrimonious, and completely avoidable lockout, the Buffalo Sabres started out the 2012-13 season like dog mess stuck to a boot. At that point, my frustration with the franchise reached critical mass, and I cashed out. I think I actually said to a TV, “Look, call me when you’re interested in being good again, because this shit is not working for me.”
That was somewhere between games five and ten last year, and since then, I haven’t watched more than a stray minute or two of the Sabres. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t missed them. Sure, I stayed up to date with what was happening on twitter since there’s no way I could unfollow everyone in Buffalo twitter, but I was pretty much completely disengaged from the team.
It’s a really and truly weird thing to actively dislike your favorite team. Sure, we all have that on some level with the Bills, but it was different for me with the Sabres. And it all came back to God damn Darcy Regier.
I can handle failure. I mean, Jesus, I’m a Buffalo sports fan. Failure happens, but this franchise has been a walking, shambling corpse. It felt like Terry Pegula, the man we all thought was going to spend this team to a championship in short order, was nothing more than some stammering Whiner Line regular who was still stuck in the 90s. But after finally pulling the plug on Regier and Ron Rolston, it feels like there may actually be something good that comes from all this.
The thought of Regier attempting to rebuild this franchise after he personally steered it into the ditch was, for the lack of a better term, completely fucked. We don’t know if Pat LaFontaine and whoever he hires to be general manager will be any better, but it’s different, and that’s enough to get my attention. Yes, that’s pretty sad, but that’s where we are. This is Progress. Capital P. I don’t really care about Ted Nolan. He’s not going to be around next year anyway, so just play the kids a lot every night and get the team working hard and I’ll consider his return a success.
There have been a lot of people that think this move is just more bullshit from the Sabres because they brought back two guys with ties to the team. It’s certainly possible. LaFontaine doesn’t have any real experience as an executive, but he at least realizes it. He seems smart enough to hire someone who has done this before. But the larger point is this: Just because someone has ties to the organization doesn’t mean they’re clueless. It makes for an easy joke because hurr durr Buffalo, but anyone who says so is more interested in humping away at narrative than assessing the situation honestly. I want the best possible people to be the coach and GM of the Sabres, and I don’t care where they’re from. Hopefully Pat can put those people in place. If not, hopefully it doesn’t take a billion years for him and everyone else to be replaced.
So am I back in? I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that they have my attention. Let’s go.
The first of many takes on this news... Guest contributor, former full-timer...
This is all very odd. It probably has something to do with my fever-ridden brain, but all of this feels as if it may vanish next morning. Am I going to wake up in bed with Susane Pleshette? Is Patrick Duffy going to be in the shower? Am I a kid with autism staring at a snow globe?
Terry Pegula finally took full ownership of the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night when he relieved General Manager Darcy Regier and Head Coach Ron Rolston on their posts. Regier had been GM for the Sabres for 16 years, winning no championships. In their places: Pat LaFontaine as President of Hockey Operations and Ted Nolan - TED NOLAN WHAT THE FUCK - as interim Head Coach. Now the last vestiges of Golisano and Rigas are gone. This is the real Pegula Day.
I've always kind of wondered about Pegula and his level control with this team. He took charge in a bath of glory from a desperate fanbase and then immediately proclaimed that nothing would change. There was no new vision. There was no grand strategic plan. It was the men he retained, finally being free of inept management. Pegula found out, brutally, that the ineptness resided within the room.
It could not be easy for the man. He showed deep emotional committment to Lindy Ruff and Regier on the day he took full vestment. He had to believe deep down in their abilities. To come to the realization that maybe your heroes cant save the world is, to borrow from Ruff's dialog, a tough one. But controlling a sports team means, quite often, having to dispense with the people you love and respect most in order to maintain peak performance. Pegula's sentimentality got the better of him. We should hope its a mistake he never makes again.
The Sabres have maybe acquired something they haven't had since the lockout of 2004, and that is vision. The infusion of LaFontaine may bring that grand plan the team had desperately been lacking for so long. Since Pegula bought the team they have wandered from one half-assed strategy to the next. They thought they could turn it around right when he bought the team in 2011, but couldn't quite make it work. No one could agree as to whether they were rebuilding or not after that. Did they start rebuilding last year? When they fired Ruff? When they hired Rolston? When they traded Pominville? The ship was without a captain.
Regier was always good at holding a thing together, but it felt like he was taking direction from elsewhere. He did well when someone else wrote the rules of engagement. Both Rigas and Golisano set financial goals for the franchise and had direct impact on personnel decisions made by the team. Pegula was adamant that wouldn't happen again, but assumed that the man taking orders was being restrained by the financial constraints as opposed to fulfilling the job at which he was his best. Pegula got a chance to see Regier's style of management for himself, free of interference, and saw a void. "Fuck. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I just wanted to believe in this guy."
Hey man, you always said you were a fan first. Well this is a first rate fan fuck up. We do this shit all the time.
The blessings of unimaginable personal wealth is that you can fuck up without any personal risk. Saying Pegula is getting a second chance at this isn't quite phrasing right, because the guy never really took the helm, nor does he necessarily have a finite number of chances to take. This is where the guy is giving it a shot. This is where his mark is to be made. The fact that LaFontaine and Nolan both have been with this franchise before and worked together on Long Island in a similar capacity should not be mistaken for another bout of crippling sentimentality (although there is a great risk of it being just that). The two of them bring definitiveness.
No one would ever accuse Ted Nolan of being ambiguous. His goal and ambitions are clear to the point of friction. He causes intense heat in organizations. Lucky for him he joins a franchise where all the boilers are out. There maybe isn't a greater myth, in the classic sense of the word, in Buffalo sports than that of Nolan's ability to draw blood from stone and passion from the uninspired. His team was The Hardest Working Team In The NHL. They may not be good, but at least they will beat the shit out of somebody. Plenty of the old schoolers will be out in force clamoring for the days of the mid-90s. They'll march down Washington Street carrying signs that read "Corsi Who?" and "Math Can't Win In The Streets." They will be put to bed by a lullaby of Bob Boughner and Brad May, sleeping to dream of an end to analytics.
Seeing this element pop up makes me uneasy. I could hold my breath comfortably within the time one of these 90s hockey-worshiping mastodons calls an opposing player a faggot. Not the classiest brigade in the order of battle. Perhaps though, this is part of the myth building. Nolan's last gig was Head Coach of the Latvian national team. International hockey is not the best arena for rock'em sock'em hockey, yet Nolan got his squad into the Olympics. Maybe the man has more than just a bag of hammers in his toolbox, even if that's not what many Sabres fans care about right now.
LaFontaine got fired from the Islanders for telling them what he thought. That act should shine as an act of bureaucratic valor unparalleled in hockey. He is now on the outs on the Island. Their loss. I don't quite know what his game plan is. He never got a chance to put it into effect with the Islanders, but whatever it was it pissed off Charles Wang to the point of termination. Tell me more, Mr. LaFontaine.
We are in a position of potential energy maybe unseen in Buffalo sports. U.B. football is on the rise and Bulls hoops has a new lead. The Bills have completely turned over, Ralph Wilson is incapable of fucking it up, and just maybe they have a quarterback. And now the Sabres have finally, mercifully done what they should have done three years ago in releasing Regier.
Happy Pegula Day.
Guest Contributor, @jambrones
I don’t get fired up about things enough to violently berate them on the internet very often. In fact, I only have done that once. And it was a private matter. Hashtag Bills Mafia is no exception. I am not fired up, offended or even the least bit anxious about this hashtag and its wake. This is exactly why I must write about it. I am completely centered, here. I am in #BillsZen.
Alright, so the reason I never write about "sports" is because all of my teams are steaming piles of dog shit. Writing about them is tantamount to watching the dog shit: cool, harden and turn white on the corner every day when I walk to work. And Barrister has been begging me to write something for once in my life.
This thought process started with the Buffalo Sabres Twitter account tweeting about some Dancing With The Stars contestant. So turns out she's on Terry Pegula's record label (diversify yo bonds); mystery solved likely. I was sincerely afraid this was part of a "pinkification" operation to reach out to female fans. Because let's be honest, I'm sure no one has learned anything from While the Men Watch
or the Ranger's Girls Guide to Hockey.
Hey, the Sabres account might not be on the same snark level as the Kings, at least they're not handing over the account to people I've never heard of who make shitty "jokes" about sexual assault
What else really pisses me the fuck off? Keep reading.
This photo is called a "teaser"
"What instrument should my kid play?"
not tuba. shit is gigantic.
@jambrones, Guest Contributor
The easy answer is, “The one they like the sound of.”
But, that’s not the right answer in reality. The choice boils down to a finely seasoned stew of the kid’s personality, patience, work ethic, talent and physiology. Since the general public’s knowledge of music is exceeded in horror only by their lack of patience talking about it, I usually cut my opinions way short. However, the general public loves
to talk about sports, take their kids to sporting events, team practices and games several times a week. Parents would probably benefit by realizing that learning an instrument and playing a sport are THE SAME DAMN THING. (Exception being the fitness aspect, which judging by the fitness of many parents, is not really a priority. Zing.)
Piano is Soccer.
Every child should take piano lessons for at least a year. It is an excellent beginner instrument. Kids don’t need to learn how to produce a sound on the piano…it’s automatic. Even a cat that scurries across the keyboard gets a purrfect tone. You can teach a 3 year old kid a simple song in 2 minutes. On the piano, you can play melodies, chords, 10 notes at once, super high and super low. It is easy to start, yet daunting to become great. The step by step patterns of Western Music are laid out on the keyboard like a map in front of the player. It’s all there. It’s like a musical abacus. Indeed, the piano is the KING of all Instruments.
And so it goes with soccer. Every child should play soccer for at least a year. It is the undisputed King of all Sports. Anyone can play it. Just kick. Even toddlers understand it. And yet…like the piano it’s a bitch to master, and really easy to be bad at.
ONE OBJECT: SCORE. Ball----> Net. Yay! Repeat. The net is HUGE, and it’s right there, on the grass.
ONE RULE: don’t use your hands. That’s it…go play. As a beginning soccer kid, there are no special super hard skills or techniques like skating or dribbling a basketball or hitting a baseball to slow the process down. It’s a great beginner’s sport; Instant success. YET…like the piano, mastery is evasive. There are advanced dribbling moves and strategy, and a few more rules, just like piano, but in order to get out there and play as a kid, you need not know these things. That is the beauty of it. Easy to learn, hard to perfect. Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that soccer is the most popular sport on earth.
The Commander, guest contributor (until further notice)
Greetings friends. I sincerely hope everyone is enjoying the fabulous offseasons from both of our favorite Buffalo sports teams. I’m sure one of us can do something with the Sabres around draft time, perhaps making up some bullshit about how the guy we picked at #8 is a bunch of cool buzzwords that actually translate to “Joel Savage”. Or we can talk about how Tarvaris Jackson has been the best QB at the Bills OTAs, but that sounds sort of depressing considering that we drafted a 4th round rated QB with pick #16 overall, doesn’t it?
Fortunately, there’s a bunch of good non-Buffalo sports things going on. I managed to not get my Buffalo Curse all over the Sacramento Kings and they’re staying here, there’s some basketball playoffs going on right now (I’m not good at basketball yet so I can’t really say much more than that), the baseball mans are hitting the baseballs all over the place, and of course the NHL Playoffs have reached the Conference Finals stage. Which is why I would like to present:
The 2013 DGWU NHL CONFERENCE FINALS PRIMER!
Let’s take a look at the 4 teams remaining and help you decide who you should root for.
The Commander, guest contributor
Hi there, welcome to The DEEG. I’m “The Commander”, which is totally a play on Cobra Commander. Confession: I’m a giant GI Joe dork, I have an entire room full of action figures and shit. I’m a grown ass man and everything. I even have a job, and a girlfriend, and a shitload of cats and dogs. If you don’t know me, that’s ok I haven’t written anything long form in forever. Basically, I’m a Twitter smartass and the people who run this place love that sort of thing so they gave me a chance to be funny and entertaining in more than 140 characters.
First a little background so that you guys get where I’m coming from when it comes to my relationship with Buffalo sports. I was actually born in Cleveland and moved to Buffalo when I was about 9 years old. Being too young to really care about the Cleveland teams, I latched onto the Bills and Sabres and grew up following them. The first Bills game I attended in person was The Comeback, so really It’s been all downhill from there. About 2 years ago I moved to California and jinxed the only pro team in my immediate area into moving to Seattle. You’re welcome Sacramento! Despite having a “9 to 5” I’ve been able to watch like 95% of every Sabres game this year…thanks to mobile devices and working from home occasionally. So now that you have an idea of the lengths I go to be disappointed in my sports teams, I feel that I can openly bitch and complain about them for you. The only difference between you and I is that at least when the Bills and Sabres suck unequivocal amounts of ass in November or December, I don’t have to shovel snow.
This is a terrible time to jump aboard the DEEG, Bills season is long over and another shitty Sabres season is behind us. But I wanted to take this time and reflect on the 5 things that I hated the most about the past Sabres season.
Guest Contributor: The Wild Card
HOCKEY HEAVEN -- (Trade Deadline minus 25 hours, 8 minutes. Associated Mess) -- With Leopold and Regehr gone it's pretty clear now that Darcy intends to blow this motherfucker up, burn this motherfucker down and otherwise do things to this motherfucker that make it different tomorrow. Cool. They need to look different, but now I'm wondering if they'll be different. And the reason to think they won't be is the common denominator: Darcy.
A lot of people want Darcy gone, and I tentatively count myself among their number. The case against Darcy is easy to make, and it usually comes down to results. No cups. 1 cup appearance a long time ago. Drury, Briere, yada yada. I'm not telling you anything new. My problem is that I can make a pretty strong case in Darcy's favor too. He did have the sense to bring in said Chris and said Danny for next to nothing. He got a 1st for a goose. He just traded two 32-yr old defensemen with 12 games left on their contracts for 3 second round picks and a 4th/5th. Not too shabby. He moves Van/Pom/Mil and we could suddenly picking every 5 minutes in June. And with promising guys like Armia, Grigorenko (yes, shutup you shit-sniffing troll, the kid's going to be fine) and Leggio in the organization, I have to think Darcy's done a pretty decent job assembling some young talent.
But here's why I still think I want Darcy gone: with all that being said, under Darcy's regime these teams have been largely the same - dispassionate, soft, leaderless. The Drury/Briere era was the exception. We had clear leaders, and the other players had clear roles. But the leadership on that team wasn't drafted by Darcy. Drury and Briere were trades. McKee was drafted pre-Darcy. Lydman was a trade... Darcy just doesn't draft leaders. Name a guy Darcy drafted that would be a suitable captain on an NHL team. ... anyone?
I just can't get around it. I think about all the moves that Darcy has made here. I think about what he's tried to do. What the general philosophy of the team is. I have to admit, I agree with all of it. I even like the philosophy of building out from your goaltender, playing good defense and not droppin' cash like Tyrone Biggums in Free Agency.
But for 16 years he has failed to draft a true captain for this team. That's just not acceptable. ALL the good teams have good captains. Let's have a look down the list:
Chi - Toews, Sharpe, Keith (not to mention Kane)
ANA - Getzlaf, Koivu, Selanne (not to mention Perry)
MIN - Koivu, Parise, Suter
LA - Brown, Richards, Kopitar
PIT - Crosby, Malkin, Orpik
MTL - Gionta, Markov, (and Gorges... but fuck that.)
BOS - Chara, Bergeron (not to mention Horton, Marchand, Lucic, Seguin, and Thornton... good god I'm jelly. OK, back to grown-up talk.)
These guys are ALL-STARS, and most of them are gritty, intense, tenacious. Our guys are just good. Them: MEN. Us: Whiney little boners. I mean, do Vanek and Pominville stack up to ANY of these guys? If they were traded to any of these teams, do you think they'd say "shit, we gotta put a letter on this guy" ?
Maybe Darcy can change his stripes, I don't know. I think he's always been pretty good at seeing this team's weaknesses on the X's and O's front. Steve Ott is a good example. We needed to get tougher at the top and he knew it. So we got tougher at the top. But Ott is also a guy I like a lot as a leader. Could it be that Darcy knows we need leadership too?
He might only have 24 hours to prove it.Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @DGW_WildCard
Barrister here. As you all should know by now, sometimes we post a lot, sometimes our real jobs at which we're each enormously successful take up a little too much of our time, sometimes we have to plan for weddings and public remarks at said weddings, and sometimes we just forget we have a website to maintain in between early wake up calls in pools of our own vomit. We've lately been a little short on actual written content here (download those podcasts, though!), but have added a new guest contributor to our pathetic ranks! "The Wild Card" hails from West Seneca but is down here in NYC for law school and he likes to drink and curse like us so I'm sure he'll fit right in. In any event, someone had to write about Fitzpatrick here at the Deeg, and sure as shit none of the rest of us had the stomach for it. So I give you...
The Wild Card
Why I Hate that Fitz is Gone, and No, it's not Beard-Related
I know. The beard was like 99% of the gravitas. Hell, it was fuckin' awesome. But it wasn't awesome enough to make you want him as your starting QB and that's probably why you, as a Bills fan are pretty happy today. The Bills cutting Fitz means we get a NEW quarterback next year! And new is great! Right?! RIGHT?!
Mike Tannenbaum Well, not if that new QB sucks a giant fat one. This is the problem - with Fitz gone, everybody knows that the Bills are taking a QB with one of their first 2 picks. So, if I'm Mike Tannenb... I mean, John Idzik (the Jets new GM) (don’t worry I had to google it too) sitting at 9, and I really like Geno Smith, or Barkley, or some other ass-hat not worth a top 10 pick, I'm trying like hell to trade up in front of the Bills and grab my guy. And if that guy is the Bills’ guy too, then the Bills are going to have to take a different guy! I don’t want that guy! I want the other guy! The other guy is Ben Roethlisberger (two Super Bowl rings)
Not pictured: RAPE
and that guy is JP Losman (you just vomited)! Please, god, let us get the other guy.
(yeah, that’s actually Kyle Orton. But screw it, they look exactly the same and if JP isn’t chugging JD right now, then… like… what the hell is he doing?)
And the same thing goes if the Bills want to wait until the second round to get their guy, or trade back up into the first. When everyone knows what you’re doing it’s a lot easier to get fucked by one of the other handful of teams that need a QB.
But maybe everything will work out and the Bills will get their guy. Great. But now their guy has to be THE guy. He has to be the starter. Day one. Do you really see Tarvaris Jackson starting week 1 at QB for this team? Or… Aaron Corp? Or… sweet Jesus … Rex Grossman? Did you vomit again yet?! Did you even make it past Jackson without vomiting?! So yeah, whoever they take is going to have a ton of pressure on him, and the conventional wisdom is that none of the guys in this draft are polished enough to be day one starters. They’re guys that would be better off taking a year and sitting behind a wiley, bearded, Harvard-educated, Wonderlic-crushing veteran that screams like a 4 year old girl.
Tuesday, that wiley, bearded, Harvard-educated, Wonderlic-crushing veteran that screams like a 4 year old girl was on our roster. Now he is not.
And the beard was sexy as fuck.
The ContinentalEvery week (HA FUCKING HA) The Continental will answer your questions. Whether it is Buffalo sports related inquiry, needed advice, or just a generally stupid question you feel like seeing her answer, have at it and we'll see what this young lady is made of! You can e-mail weekly questions to us at email@example.com, tweet us @DGWUSports, or even tweet her directly @hpurricane.
I clearly need to get better at "getting drunk" and/or "posting to the site." The Barrister puts me to shame and he has a wife, child, and law bidness and drinking to tend to. In the mean time I have been getting drunk A LOT. #OccupyNassau was fun, if traumatic for brave coworker I invited along. I did do a lot of yelling about Jochen Hecht being a shitsipping taint, but I did keep the "Please let me suck your dick Cody" to a minimum. But seriously, if any of you buffablogbros can hook a sister up tell Cody I'm DTF.
What's a good VDay activity for a non-romantic couple that doesn't want to buy each other shit. @criminallyvu1ga
That counts for a lot of people. Although some people can get by with "make dinner" and "tell my partner I love them." But for you two, you guys moved to a new city with what I assume is a somewhat temperate climate? I recommend a nice long walk with your dogs, then if you can, make a bonfire! That's cozy and romantic (provided you are legally able to set fires.) Hot dogs optional, but everything in my life is better with hot dogs.
Hot Diggity Damn!
Which professional league athletes get the most ass on the road and why and in order? -HKD
Time spent on the road, takes football right out since they have the shortest season, plus just less time away from their wives and families during the week. Let's go from least to most ass:
4. Football-time crunch, short seasons AND career length.
3. Baseball- baseball players wear tight pants, but they're mostly busted and weird shaped. At least hockey players are busted but man-shaped.
2. Hockey- good Canadian boys usually get married young and have a surprising amount of sexual hangups. So by the time they start being adulterous it's in their late 20s, inherent disadvantage.
1. Basketball- I mean have you SEEN basketball players! Young, cute, crazy scary tall, full schedule with plenty of travel. Definitely first.
Who should I want to bang more, TJ Brennan or Ryan Fitzpatrick? @SamanthaJoy124
First this stems back from a hilarious exchange with @fgif
when his profile picture was Franj with TJ Brennan. Sam said she "maybe would" the tall one (Brennan.) Then Frank cried himself to sleep or something, I don't know his life.
Sam, TJ Brennan is 6'1" and Fitzy is 6'2" so they are pretty much at the same playing field as "unfortunately not that much taller than you." (Sam is my dutch goddess friend, if any of you are 6'3" or taller in the NYC Metro area and are a "good" dude please romance her.) TJ Brennan is the obvious choice, he is younger, has a better future in his sport, isn't Grand Marshall of the shit parade. Brennan is the healthy scratch of shit parades.
I've got hurt feelings, I've got hurt feel-lings
I'm a busy important 3L, please watch House of Cards and decide whether or not I should watch it since we both have impeccable taste. -@sholland06
Ok, I may have paraphrased there but that's really what he meant. SORRY to to disappoint but the night I tried to start watching House of Cards I hit a speed bump commonly known as "blacking out." Since I tried to drown my sorrows that Franj and Renn could not make #occupynassau. Maybe 12 beers before trying to start an hour long drama was a poor choice. Really the drinking 12 beers was the poor choice.
Anyways sholland06, people I love and trust (Happy Valentines Day <3) all love it, the afformentioned Franj, Renn, but also StephanieZD
, runthedive, cbruckel
and other people who I'm sure I'm forgetting. The tone seems to be a lot of "wow this is incredible and well done" but mostly "KATE MARA."
Also to everyone if you have any important cultural contributions to add to my life I am always looking readers.
House of Cards tho
What's your ideal sports/vday date: Mine is NBA All-star weekend? -@e_dealur
Really? All star weekend? Anyone likes those things? But fair, it's the NBA and you get dunk contests and the game is like two Harlem Globetrotters playing each other, not the awkward shinny the NHL puts on every year.
Sex and hockey is probably too pedestrian right? Yeah, that's not even a special occasion, and Valentine's Day is about going "above and beyond" we can all agree. Therefore my answer is leave work to drink, go to a Rangers or Knicks game and get very drunk,then give a blow job to my date in a cab. WHO SAID ROMANCE IS DEAD Y'ALL!!!!
Are you there Deegers it's me The Continental:
On a day with such a rich tradition of love and romance I'm here to ask you: What is the most shameful/weirdest/creepiest/scariest/saddest/grossest thing you've ever beat off to? Anonymity encouraged.
Happy Valentines Day! XOXOXOXO