With Yachtsman covering the bases yesterday with his mouth diarrhea gem of a post, you'd think I would consider the Deeg's coverage of Derek Roy's departure from the Sabres complete. Nay, good sirs and ladies, for I am hungover at work and can't possibly be trusted with actual responsibilities but want to feel like I accomplished something today. Count yourselves lucky, trust me.
Besides, this is really the only topic I can blab on about, since I can't possibly write about Dickey after Yachtsman threw down the gauntlet on that topic. I'm nothing if not spiteful, even if it does necessitate rehashing a topic that has certainly received enough attention this week. (Sidebar: Yachtsman's joke about me asphyxiating myself while watching Mets' games was both hilarious and accurate in its own way. I'll leave it to you to decide which way that is.)
One of my favorite things to do lately is watch the fans of Sabreland trip over themselves in a fury of anger and resentment at Darcy Regier, fueling a prevailing wisdom that tells us that he's simply incapable of making this team better. So when free agency approached and people stomped their feet about the need for a big splash and their assumption that such would not come, it set the stage for another moment of shock as Darcy inevitably did something. Maybe not the big splash we had hoped for - and that we still hope for - but a move that is terribly satisfying to all but the most homer of Buffalo sports fans. With Derek Roy shipped out, we learned - yet again - to chill the fuck out and let things take their course, and to never trust anything Paul Hamilton says, even if it affirms our belief that Derek Roy is an overvalued hack just like, well, Paul Hamilton.
Neither, to be fair, was it black and white that Roy needed to go. As much as we like to rag on him for his white suits and Kangol hats and mandles and propensity for sexual assault (maybe?), the guy was also a key cog in the successful times of the past decade, such as they were. There was a time, probably about a year ago, when I thought we were seeing Derek Roy turn a new leaf. His production in 2010-11 was impressive, even accounting for his limited availability due to injuries, and - unlike the skewed stats of some others on the team who had brief stretches of absurd production in the midst of utter mediocrity (*cough* *stafford* *cough*) - Roy was showing us something night in and night out. History of diving and half-assing it down the ice aside, I was hopeful. Shocker, I know, for the Viceroy of Hyperbole, but it honestly seemed like anything was possible in this new town of Pegulaville, even an apparent prima donna finally earning his fucking paycheck.
Your guess is as good as mine as to where that brief glimpse of quality went. Last year we had what was arguably the worst version of Roy. He wasn't just bad. We was invisible. With an "A" on his chest, he seemed to wilt as the team's #1 center following an off-season where so much hype surrounded whether we even had a #1 center. Speculation - my favorite! - is that he grew tired of Lindy Ruff and maybe tanked his play to ensure that long-rumored trade. If that's true - and who the fuck knows if it is or if Roy had just had enough of the poon down at SoHo - he may be a great player after all, but he's also the worst kind of shit head. Good fucking riddance.
Of course, Roy's departure wasn't just about getting rid of our favorite whipping boy. Steve Ott, the returning player in the Roy trade, adds a lot of good things to the roster. He's a decent point producer for a player who fills the role of "grinder" - certainly better than Paul Gaustad for the same price, basically - and if you credit his WGR interview from Tuesday morning, he's pumped to be coming to Buffalo. (Suck on THAT, Dallas, what with your championships and gorgeous cheerleaders and oil money and... FUCK). Of course, no one has any clue whether Ott will perform well in Buffalo or whether we'll have another severe drop-off in play like some of the other recent acquisitions post-Pegula. If nothing else, though, even if he's not the answer to the Sabres dysfunctional roster and even if he never contributes half as much as Roy did, I'd prefer to have someone who actually wants to play as a Sabre than one who consistently demonstrated that he could just as easily quit in favor a long-overdue career as a hand model.
As for the other new faces on the roster (for now) - Adam Pardy, John Scott and, just this afternoon, Kevin Porter - the untrustworthy prevailing wisdom is that none of them are really fit to be a consistent presence on an NHL team. Porter, from what I've read in the 15 minutes since the news of his signing broke, won the Hobey Baker back in 2008 and has had only marginal success since he entered the league. John Scott, to his credit, is rumored to eat children and make Boston Bruins pee their pants, so I can't really see any downside at $600,000. And Adam Pardy, well ... he's pretty big and pretty tall and probably plays defense better than Mike Weber, so I'm ok with that as well. Worst case, they all get to have their pictures taken in the Andrew Peters Memorial Pressbox, right? (Sidebar: "Memorial" in reference to Peters' upside, which perished sometime in 2006; happily, Andy Bear the man is still alive and well).
Fact is, the Sabres probably aren't done, especially since so many people probably suspect that they are, and no matter if they're done or not, the roster is still filled with so many head cases that are being ruined by Lindy Ruff that none of it will matter and the team will flame out to another 10th place finish come April, 2013.
Or, that's at least what we'll keep telling ourselves, right?