The Scizz has been on me all week to finish the Draft grades I promised our dear reader(s?) this past weekend. I sat in front of the computer after work every night and tried to come up with things to say about our new picks and I simply couldn't muster the strength.
The spirit did not move me to write anything... I simply don't trust the BrainMush @ One Bills Drive to do anything right anymore. Why waste your time and mine trying to sugarcoat another shitty draft? We picked three DBs, passed on a proven stud d-lineman for a skinnier/riskier Aaron Schobel, and reached on a couple linemen who could have been picked much later in the draft. That's what's been running around my head these past few days, so there you have it. Allen Wilson, I am not.
However, it's not like I don't have something to bitch about at length. Being a Buffalo Sports fan, I'll always have something to bitch about. And yes, something has been bothering me for quite some time. It's this guy:
The Buffalo Sabres' Managing Partner/President of Hockey Operations/Minority Owner. Yes, those are all of his titles, if you sift through the internet long enough.
To put it in layman's terms (BEWARE NERD ALERT), Larry Quinn is the Grima Wormtongue to Golisano's Theoden King.
NOW YOU REMEMBER. Yes, the man who withered away the Kingdom of Men by whispering poison into the King's ear. In our case, Larry has whispered to Golisano that everything is okay because the seats are still filled, his plan is working, the Sabres are fine, Satan is our friend, Satan is our pal, I want to kill, Every-one... you get the point. (Ups to whoever gets that reference. Hint: Tom Hanks' Greatest Film)
I couldn't hold myself back from writing this. Every media outlet that I can still track back in Buffalo refuses to write an exposé on this guy. IT'S LIKE THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND. He is the President of HOCKEY OPERATIONS. What are his credentials?!? That he fired a coach one month after said coach won the fucking Jack Adams Award?!?
Larry Quinn's re-association with the team when Golisano bought them gave me pause back in 2003, but not much pause. After all, I was stumbling through a haze of bongwater and booze at the time. It was college.
B. Thom (what a douche name, btw) bought the team on March 19th, and seeing as how I turned 21 three days earlier, I was undoubtedly still hammered. Looking back, we were all happy that No Balls Bettman hadn't let the team leave for some bullshit warm weather retirement community in the South. Still, we all should have known what was in store when they traded Stu Barnes at the deadline to "Let him play for a contender". Fuck you, Lawrence. You made the Captain cry in front of reporters.
Lawrence began his illustrious career with Sabres during the Knox Family vs. Rigas Family debacle of the mid '90s. Quinn was the meatball who aligned himself with the Knoxes, and rumor has it he was also the one who douched Muckler and Nolan out of the organization after they gained an improbable playoff spot. Granted, the Sabres found success without Nolan and Muckler, but those were due to the hirings of Ruff & Regier by Tim Rigas, not Lawrence.
So now you know where Lawrence got his start in hockey; by aligning himself with one of the cheapest ownership families in the history of sports. But the problems run deeper than just the Nolan debacle. Quinn's sliminess runs deeper than the dead spot in the middle of Lake Erie.
First off, he's from New Jersey. Yeah, he moved to Buffalo when he was two, but he was still BORN in New Jersey (that's gonna piss off both the Yachtswoman and The Scizzette). Also, you know why he moved to Buffalo? Because his father was hired to help build the Kensington Expressway. Yep, the Kensington. The same Robert Moses abortion which ripped through one of Frederick Law Olmsted's (designer of Central Park/Delaware Park) crowning achievements: the Buffalo Parkway System.
See, before the Kensington and the Scajaquada Expressways, everyone in the Buffalo area LIVED IN BUFFALO. The city was beautiful, designed by brilliant landscape architects, and everyone was happy. The whole place looked like the Elmwood Village/Delaware District.
Then Robert Moses and Lawrence's Dad rolled into town and fucked everything up.
Now we have miles of shitty concrete where beautiful parkways once rolled through the city. After they destroyed those neighborhoods, everyone moved to places like Amherst, Clarence... Franklinville. Nobody wanted to live in a city with three highways running through the middle. That's where Lawrence began his systematic destruction of Buffalo's soul.
Yes, the argument can be made that you can't blame the son for the sins of the father, but it's my fucking blog and I'll say whatever the fuck I want, regardless of your protests.
When little Lawrence grew up, he decided to attend Notre Dame. There's a decent amount of Buffalo AND Notre Dame fans in the world, so I'm not going to shit too hard on that decision. That being said, I'm sure some of his douchitude was learned in the hallowed halls of South Bend.
[DISCLAIMER: LAWRENCE ALSO ATTENDED CANISIUS HIGH SCHOOL, ALMA MATER OF BOTH THE YACHTSMAN AND THE APOLOGIST. PLEASE DO NOT HOLD THAT AGAINST US OR THE SCHOOL. CHEERS.]
After little Lawrence graduated, he turned into Big Lawrence, and he got a job as Jimmy Griffin's Commissioner for Economic Development... at the ripe old age of 24. Good for him. Of course, being Jimmy Griffin's Commissioner for Economic Development in Buffalo during the late 70's is kind of like being the Minister of Tourism in Pakistan. That's when Lawrence began his illustrious project of waterfront development for the City of Buffalo. I think we all know where that's lead us.
After realizing the public sector was no way to make a buck, Lawrence relocated to the private sector via Cleveland and New York City. There he made his bones in real estate development, being rather successful. Although, we here at DGWU Sports couldn't find a single project with his name on it that could be considered a success... but hey, we're not journalists... we're sports fans. We did, however, find out that Lawrence had a major hand in bringing both the Adam's Mark and Hyatt Regency Hotels to downtown Buffalo. Nice. It's good that major acreage of downtown and waterfront property are taken up by hotels that are rarely booked. I had my prom there. That's all I got.
After a period of years, Lawrence began making inroads back to Buffalo via the Knox family, who needed cash and development for the Sabres to remain viable in WNY. By 1996, Lawrence was Team President, and began sticking his dick in the mashed potatoes. This is where he started to really make his mark on the continued sports ruination of the city of Buffalo...
And it all started with him getting rid of this guy:
YEAH! Your favorite and mine, the ONLY Captain I know, number 16... Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala-Fontaaaaaaaaaine!!
Lawrence was the guy who pulled the trigger on sending LaFontaine to the Rangers after his last career threatening concussion. YES, you're right, LaFontaine was a shell of his former self. But if we value anything in this town, it's hard work and loyalty. Patty demonstrated that night in and night out every year in Buffalo. Yeah, I could care less that he barely played the next season in New York. He was our Captain! For all the years he gave this organization, you let him play out his last season in a Sabres uniform. That move, in my opinion, was the beginning of the end for the Sabres under Lawrence's "leadership".
I've already explained his first "leave of absence" from the organization. Now let's move into his second tenure, students.
Let's fast forward to 2003, after the Rigas' were in handcuffs, after Bettman tried to save face for No Goal by saving the Sabres (not enough). Now Lawrence makes his triumphant return to the organization by ushering in the B. Thom era. On his second go-round, Lawrence made the rounds to the papers and the magazines and the television shows and even the bathroom of the old Burger King on Elmwood to let everyone know Ruff & Regier were in charge and that he wasn't going to be sticking his tan meatface into the old hockey business anymore.
Hooray! We're Saved!...
...not so fast.
Things went well for the first two years. Aside from changing over to the Banana Slug from the Rabid Goat emblem, things were going fairly well for the Blue and Gold. The team made the conference finals in '06 and won the President's Trophy in '07. What followed, however, is what Sabre fans will remember for the rest of their natural born lives...
Do I have to even recap it?
The picture speaks for itself. When we let those two walk, we doomed this organization for the next decade. Yes, bold statement, I know. However, if you look at it from my perspective, maybe you can understand why.
Drury and Briere were consummate professionals, and needed each other for success. Aside from the star-studded '01 Avs, Drury never really found the same success as he had with the Sabres. Briere CERTAINLY won't find it in Philly, where they backstop a monster two-way squad with MARTY BIRON.
The Sabres were at their best when Drury and Briere were the co-captains, and vice versa. I say they doomed the franchise because the leadership void left by those two is tremendous and tangible. Not only is the squad now incredibly soft (see: corner play, all year), but the touted rookies we have coming up in the next few years will learn how to play hockey under softies like Tim Connolly and Derek Roy. Who would you rather have as a teacher... the Mascara Men or Drury & Briere?!?
(That's Derek Roy giggling on the ground with one man-dal on.)
The reason I mention this is because Lawrence had his hands all over this and other debacles since the 2007 off-season. He is rumored to be the one who let all the '07 players walk and he is also the one rumored to be behind the absurd Connolly contract. Examine THAT contract again. For what we gave Connolly and Pominville in raises, we could have EASILY kept Briere and Drury at their asking price in '06.
Remember how they used to show Golisano on the JumboTron at all the games during the post-lockout success? Where is B. Thom these days? The ticket prices have been raised (thanks, Lawrence), the team is softer (thanks, Lawrence), and they haven't made the playoffs in two years (Again. Thanks, Lawrence).
From what I can tell, the Sabres keep making money. B. Thom hasn't complained about the Sabres not "being in the red" for some time. A few year back, that's all you heard from ownership. Now, the seats are filled every night while the Sabres continue to lose. Golisano obviously doesn't care enough to change anything. He promoted Lawrence, and in turn, Lawrence has kept the status quo. Most successful organizations (New Jersey, Anaheim, Detroit, etc.) would have cleaned house by now... here, the post-lockout posterboys? Same old, same old. The most positive offseason move the Sabres have made to offset the loss of Drury and Briere? Picking up this guy:
Now we're in the 2009 offseason, and we still haven't even had a press conference. Where is B. Thom's eating of the microphone? Yes, you remember last year, don't you? B. Thom promised us he would "eat the microphone" if the Sabres didn't make the playoffs this year.
If you're not going to fire Larry or make a GM change with Regier, or even CUT FUCKING AFINOGENOV, you can at least keep your promise to munch the microphone! Or are you too busy creating, dismantling, and joining different political parties to notice that your meager $100 million investment has ballooned to over $180 million WHILE ONLY MAKING THE PLAYOFFS TWICE IN THE SIX FUCKING YEARS THAT YOU'VE OWNED THE TEAM!?!? Wait, you had no idea? You didn't know that the organization is in shambles? You didn't realize that we're wasting ANOTHER goaltender's prime years by fielding a team of softies in front of him for the second time in ten years? You didn't realize that? IS IT MAYBE BECAUSE YOUR HEAD OF HOCKEY OPERATIONS HAS NO FUCKING IDEA HOW TO RUN A HOCKEY TEAM FROM A PERSONNEL STANDPOINT?!?!
I certainly think it is.
You obviously didn't realize that you're STEALING hard earned money out of fans' pockets, right? Well B. Thom, we here at DGWUSports have a quick and easy solution to your problem.
FIRE LARRY QUINN.
I've presented my point to our reader(s). Simply look at the post and you'll find NOT ONE instance of your head of hockey operations playing or coaching at the professional level, let alone being a qualified evaluator of talent. With that in mind, simply scale back his responsibilities, let him sit on the money he'll undoubtedly make as minority owner, and leave him to "redevelop" the waterfront. Hand the keys over to Darcy and Lindy, and let the good times roll.
PHEW. That's all I got. I apologize for getting a little out of hand at the end... we can't afford an editor, so I can get a little tangential. In short, fuck Larry Quinn. We'll all be better off without him.