God help me for bothering to do this today. Pretty sure it's that asshole Dan Sterlace's fault, but whatever. I'm in too deep now.
Today, unless you're a Sabres fan living under a rock that doesn't allow for decent wifi, you know there was a press conference with Ted Black and Darcy Regier. Awesome! I seem to remember they didn't have one of those last year! I bet those pros over at the Buffalo News were so excited and put on their nicest Burger King pants for the occasion. I bet they even decided not to be their usual turd burgling selves and act like adults for once.
Oh, and they also talked about the terrible hockey team we inexplicably love. Good times.
What's the solution? Oh, I'm going to FJM this motherfucker. It's the only way we get right again.
HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Mike Harrington starts us off:
Here’s your chance to end all the speculation … is [Darcy] going to run this team for the draft and the offseason and into next season?
Ted Black: Yes
We could end there if I hadn't spent all that time transcribing most of the presser while waiting for someone to give me work at the office.
Q: How much consideration, given what’s going on other places in the league, other cities have made changes, was given to that, and realistically what’s your reaction when that fans say that last six years have largely been a failure? You’ve changed the coach and the General Manager is still here.
A: Darcy was given his extension that was announced in January when we came out of the lockout. The decision to extend him into next year literally was made in January, obviously, actually preceding that. The answers to fans and things like that was that the second question?
Q. Most of the fans would prefer a new General Manager.
A: When you miss the playoffs I would assume in most sports in most cities that that’s exactly what you get. The reality of it is, we’re in a process now where we’re trying to rebuild, reboot, revamp, whatever re word we’re comfortable using, and that process started last draft in 2012, there was an organizational weakness, for example, for the center position and Darcy can address this far better than I can. So accumulating picks and building, so this process has been underway for the last year and month or so.
So while this rebuild is already underway, we've barely noticed it because we've probably thought it was something else closer to "we're going to be good in just a minute," and the guy who we basically despise is still in charge of personnel. Fuck you.
Some guy named John, I think Wawrow who knows, continues...
Q. Moving on to the next topic of question, coaching-wise, have you made a decision as to where you’re gonna go with the coach?
A. Should address that to Darcy. [inaudible] To clarify that, Darcy is not my employee, Darcy and I both work for Terry Pegula. [inaudible] Oh I’m sorry, that’s why I think Darcy is the person to answer that.
Darcy: Um, Ron’s situation will be that he and I will sit down over the next week, maybe couple of weeks, re-evaluate the season, and have discussions about our relationship going forward. But I would add that I think he did a very good job under trying circumstances. And, uh, but again we’ll address that down the road.
Pay no mind that I had an integral and on-going role in creating those shit circumstances, but Ron did just fine with trying to reconfigure my douche sandwich.
I like Rolston, but have no clue if he's got the chops to make this team his own.
Q. So just to follow up you haven’t made a decision as to what you’re going to do with the coaching situation?
A. Not yet, no.
So begins the theme of asking the same question multiple times.
We then move onto a hot topic in the last week, one that started to slowly shift everyone's focus in the presser from Ted and Darcy's Bogus Fucking Journey of Obfuscation to the apparent cadre of infantile journalists claiming to represent fan interests. This is where it gets fun.
Paul Hamilton, resident Walrus: Ted, why would um, and I’m paraphrasing here, when you raised the season ticket prices you said that with the new CBA it was something that needed to be done, why did you have to raise season ticket prices?
TB: That’s a good question, Paul, and I know there’s been a lot of speculation about that. We sent out a letter to our fans as soon as we made the decision, so actually we’re probably the first team to actually send a letter to the fans and we didn’t want to wait and sneak it in on memorial day weekend or something like that. As soon as we made the decision, we wanted to get it out. Under the CBA, half of HRR goes to the players, so of the 4% - 2% is never going to see our bottom line, it’s going to go straight to the players and into the pool throughout the league. And the entire process allows the franchise to still qualify, unencumbered, for revenue sharing. And that’s the same process that existed before. There’s an obligation to raise money so that you don’t jeopardize that revenue stream. The 2% that will inure to us from the 4% increase, it’s really going to be rolled back into the operations whether it be something you see inside, and we’ve certainly done a lot of renovations inside the building or general operations. It wasn’t caused by the CBA, but it’s just the realities of it. The players share in half of all ticket revenue.
Q. [inaudible] Is that part of the CBA that you have to hit a certain amount?
A. It’s not that you have to hit a certain threshold by gross number, it’s a growth metric.
I despise these drawn out explanations that even a sort of competent lawyer such as myself can't really understand. I had a little back and forth with good old Harrington earlier today (he has yet to block me on twitter again after his recent stupid willingness to unblock me, which is weird since about 80% of my online life is spent making light of his reported penchant for youth soccer teams), and he confirmed that the terms of the new CBA - including a definition of Hockey Related Revenue, which could go a long way to explaining Black's comments here - has not been made public. Black sounds like an asshole here, particularly since (a) the fans really didn't need an explanation for what is basically a small increase, and (b) the explanation given was way worse than no explanation at all since owners are to blame for the lockout and should die in a fire.... but without the whole story, it's entirely possible he's not blowing smoke up each of our respective assholes, urethra, etc.
Q. This is a follow-up to Paul’s question: the salary cap next year is dropped by $6 million, missed the playoffs the last two years, shouldn't you really be talking about decreasing ticket prices for fans?
A: The obligation to grow as a league as a whole still exists, it’s not a written obligation, but that’s what we’re trying to do is grow league revenues. Even with the 4% increase, we’re still in the bottom quarter in terms of what our prices are. You could probably make an argument on supply and demand basis that ticket prices should be much, much higher because of demand.
Q. But you could make that same argument based on performance that they should be lower?
A: Yes you could, and I’m sure clubs that stay flat, that there are some that are going to go up more than us, we made the decision that we made that we’re going to go with 4% and, as I said, half of that actually goes to the players.
Q: Two years ago, Mr. Pegula was here for the opening press conference, I asked him whether this was about making money or winning, and he said “if I want to make more money I can drill another oil well.” He said I will lose money if necessary, to bring a Stanley Cup here. So why is there a need to raise prices?
This is where I really started to lose it, since it grew more and more apparent that some vocal contingents of the Buffalo hockey media are daft as all fuck. Sure, it's obvious most of the time. But, man.
Pegula taking a hit on ticket revenue - even just the idea of not making market rate for tickets in high demand - has NOTHING to do with whether a Stanley Cup will be brought to Buffalo. The idea of him losing money to get us a Cup is tied to player salaries and taking risks in the player market - in not having an artificial salary cap for the franchise. Cheaper tickets, however, have no discernible impact on the team's success. Sure, if you want to argue that you'd be a happier and more boisterous fan if you could buy a ticket for $10 every night, I imagine you might be right. But you'd also be an asshole who doesn't appreciate the simple economics of sustaining a pro team in a small market and the joy with which we all should support our team even though they make us vomit.
Being a Sabres fan is hard. We get it. But Ted Black doesn't owe us shit just because Drew Stafford is a dildo on skates.
Obviously, Ted is better with patience and words than me.
A: I think if you look out front with all the rigs and everything else it probably looks like we’re drilling wells out front with the Harbor Center. I won’t get into the mechanics of it, but I can assure you that what Terry said is completely true. He’s not operating this team to make money. In order to qualify for revenue shares, you have to grow your revenues, just the way the CBA works. I can’t get drunk off of Terry’s wealth and assume he’s gonna live forever and gonna spend money forever. This city knows what it’s like whenever the well runs dry, to continue that metaphor, and go through a bankruptcy. My obligation is to do everything I can to preserve the value of this franchise for multiple owners and multiple team presidents after I’m not here.
Q. But Mr Pegula said, Mr. Pegula said, during the opening press conference, I said “do you anticipate having this team for your lifetime,” and he said “I actually anticipate having it beyond my lifetime” and he pointed to his children.
A. And I hope that’s the case.
Q. So if that is the case, and you’ve got an owner worth $4 billion, why are you raising ticket prices?
He said he hopes it's the case. You're not even listening, you prick.
A: We have an owner that does have an enormous wealth, I’m not sure if that’s the correct number, I’ll never have three billion because I’d quit at two. But, I can’t make those assumptions. I think if you talk to an owner, maybe a couple a go, and ask if their company was going to last forever because they’re in the cable business and make so much money, that wasn’t a sure-fire thing. My obligation is to make sure we continue to qualify for a value revenue stream like revenue sharing, it is important – we’rwe the smallest U.S.-based market in the NHL – revenue-sharing exists for a market just like Buffalo. I hope Terry owns the team forever, I hope the Pegula kids and grandchildren own it forever and they have the same desire and love for the city that Terry does
Black is talking like a businessman here. When Pegula took over, it's as if half the fan base immediately forgot what a professional sports franchise is, and how delicate the balance is for one to continue existing in Buffalo. "Oh he's rich, he can just spend us out of a lifetime of sorrow!" Putting aside salary caps and shit free agent markets and the competition posed by other franchises that are competitive on the ice now, we should be happy that there's a guy in charge acting as intermediary between that dangerous-seeming fan boy owner and the actual business of pro hockey. Embrace it. Stop pretending that discerning fans can't see the logic there.
Or, you know don't....
Jerry Sullivan, everybody:
Q: Ted I don’t know what percentage of the fanbase is unhappy and disaffected and how many have considered actually giving up their tickets, but I want to know how concerned you are about losing some of those people because your actions suggest that you feel that you have a captive audience that won’t leave and that you’re taking them for granted.
A: That’s, uh, is that your opinion the last part of that, or…
Q: Yeah that’s my opinion I’m gonna write it tomorrow, you can respond to it ahead of time.
A: You don’t have to get hostile Jerry, I’m just trying to figure out what’s opinion and what’s reporting…
Q: there’s perceptions out there. I’m asking you if you’re concerned. There’s a question mark there
A: It sounds like you’ve already..
Q: I think, I think you act as if you have a captive audience and you’re taking them for granted. If I’m the only person that thinks that, fine. Answer the question.
The way this prick said this was appalling. Like it was an order. Sully, who the fuck do you think you are? This isn't a trial. This isn't a congressional hearing. Black is under absolutely no obligation to answer shit from you and your #WhiteVanBrigade. You've mailed it in so hard lately that when a guy gets even a little confrontational with you about your pre-prepared script of bullshit narrative, you act as if you've been robbed of some grand entitlement.
This is why you're a hack. Because you have abandoned any shred of talent and skill you have in your profession, opting instead for a shrill shell of your former self, struggling for position in a marketplace of ideas that has found yours long-since stale.
A: Can I see the article you’ve already written for tomorrow?
Q: I’ll send it to Terry.
A: He doesn’t have a computer.
Um, do I take the fans for granted? Absolutely not. This fan base has been through a lot, short and long term. This is a tremendous fan base, they deserve a lot better than what they got this year. They certainly don’t sign up for lockouts and not having hockey. We went 10 months without hockey. And it’s a fan base that, I think about it all the time, I’ve said it before, I’d rather win one Stanley Cup in Buffalo than 10 anywhere else because I know how passionate this fan base is. I’m not raising tickets by 4% to punish anyone, Jerry. If that’s the suggestion or the narrative, that’s simply not true.
Jerry doesn't give a shit about truth, Ted. Narrative is sacrosanct, especially when he gets to cut and paste shit he wrote back in 2008.
Harrington then hops back on the mic... wait, what? Are there like only six people at this presser? Is everyone there one of Harrington's cronies? You know, the ones that stalk Outlander's twitter feed so Mike can come to the defense of the disgruntles Buffalo media whenever Outlander subtweets them for one of their various shared fetishes? Probably.
MH: Ted there’s a couple of points on this ticket thing that we gotta delve into more. First of all: why would you announce any price hike and get the letters to fans on Fan Appreciation night? Do you have any sense of how callous and insensitive your fan base thinks that was?
TB: Thanks for the question, Mike, I really appreciate that. The fact of the matter is as soon as we made the decision we sent it out. It could have arrived on somebody’s birthday and they would have said how callous it is that I get it on my birthday
MH: Clearly …
TB: Let me finish please
MH: that’s pretty disingenuous don’t you think
TB: Let me finish...
I think it would be disingenuous to wait until Memorial Day weekend to send it or anything else. As soon as we made the decision, we sent it out. As I said, other teams will, I’m sure, raise prices and they haven’t sent theirs out yet. Also, they’ll have an earlier time to decide whether they want to buy or they don’t want to buy. Not every season ticket holder is an individual. There are businesses that are season ticket holders, they may be on a fiscal year, their fiscal year ends June 30, they’re able to make a decision and play their budget accordingly. We’re going through a budget process here, I’m sure they do it at the paper in or around this time to decide how they’re going to allocate money. So the earlier you get the information in the fans’ hands, the better. And historically, we’ve sent out the same letter and/or invoice about this time every year.
MH: And historically you’ve never sent it out on fan appreciation night so we’ve made that clear so let’s go to the other point…
TB: No, we didn’t send it out on fan appreciation night. The wonderful speed with which the post office delivered it, was that it arrived that day. So we sent it out before. There was no timing. If the suggestion, Mike, in any way shape or form is that we did this to be callous ..
Good god, if there are any Sabres fans who were pissed off about getting this mailing on "Fan Appreciation Night" and got bent out shape in a way discernibly worse than would have otherwise been the case at the end of this outrageously terrible season, then shut the fuck up. If you're going to get angry at such a meaningless, random thing, then I'd prefer it if you moved down south and became a Panthers fan. I'm sure they're much better about those kinds of things while being always terrible. Just like you.
That ALL said.... fucking Sabres. That's so like you dumb assholes to do something that stupid. Even it ranks very near the bottom of stupid things your franchise has done this year.
MH: So you don’t feel the need to apologize to your fans for that point at all?
TB: For the timing? If the timing was insulting, absolutely. Fan appreciation night was a wonderful night, wonderful game, we enjoy what the fans provide to us and vice versa. The suggestion that we timed it that way is completely untrue. And as I said it’s in or about this time every year that it goes out. It may have turned on that people received it for the last game of the season last year and in years past I haven’t really benchmarked it. But, when things are going the way they are now, that becomes the headline story if that’s the headline story that needs to be written.
... needs to be written by dumb as fuck journalists who are willing to concoct any narrative so long as it passes muster with the knuckledraggers of our fan base. When do we get to talk about hockey in this presser?
MH: You have an exceedingly wealthy owner, everyone knows that. Why does this franchise, with an exceedingly wealthy owner who just happens to be working in Buffalo, New York, need to qualify for revenue sharing and why do ticket prices go up based on the changes in the revenue of the CBA as pointed out very accurately in the NY Post story?
I guess not yet.
For the record, the NY Post "story" referred to by Harrington here is written by Mikey's NYC counterpart in creepy-faced, terrible hockey coverage, Larry Brooks. And when Harrington says "story," he really means snarky, unsubstantiated rebuttal of the Sabres' claim that the CBA forced them to raise ticket prices. Again, NONE OF US HAVE THE DOCUMENT. We don't know what exactly the CBA does. Brooks' rebuttal is a fan-centered, "fuck the owners" piece of nothing reporting. Indeed, there was no reporting. There was no story apart from "Sabres do thing that can't possibly be true, according to me, and hahahaha what assholes they are."
For the record, we at the Deeg are supposed to write that kind of nonsense. Not Larry fucking Brooks of the New York Po.... wait, yeah, actually him, too. Nevermind.
TB: I answered all those, but I’ll repeat it again. I can’t take for granted that Terry’s always going to be the owner. I can’t take for granted that revenue sharing won’t be important to this club long-term. And I also, half of the increase, of the 4% of increase, is actually going to HRR that the players will benefit from.
MH: Do you regret that Terry said he would just drill an oil well?
TB: No I think it was pretty funny.
MH: But it’s coming back to this organization:
TB: It was addressed this time last year. We did the exact same thing. We raised prices last year as well. And the ability to have a snarky comment to something like that is going to live forever. I thought it was a great line that Terry made and it’s out there. And again, we addressed the same thing last year.
the vision.... trade deadline .... more top ... about ... two .... runs.... You want ... will .... in ... period... obvious ways ... the bottom ... Crosby ... Malkin ... do it... in between ... length of ... agent ... not what it once was... less ... able ... to be ... back to the ... other way... top ... top ... about ... which ... I’m not ... asking ... a big part ... on a daily ... search of ... stronger ... suffering.... suffering. And .. moving ... is part of the top ... currently ... to ... to win a ... timeline ... that could be one....
GREAT ANSWER, there. Believe me, you got enough to know the important bits.
Put another way: we're fucked with him still in charge.
Q: can you speak specifically, then, because I know a lot of fans have these questions, how the approach you’re talking about pertains to the futures of Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller?
DR: They’re both under contract for one more season. I’ve talked to both of them. They are aware that this is about the Stanley Cup. We can do a number of things, and nothing has been decided, because quite honestly we’re going to get through this playoff in the National Hockey League we’re going to go into the draft, teams are going to be in different positions, there’s just so much undecided right now. It may involve both of them being here, it may involve one of them being here, it may involve none of them being here. I can only tell you that obviously they are upper-echelon, top-level players, and can certainly be a part of a Stanley Cup team.
This is terrible.
Paul H: Darcy in both cases, I had a chance to chat with them before, while they cleaned out their lockers, and as you said they want to know, they want to talk to you, they want to talk to Terry Pegula if they could just to find out where things are going. If one or both of those men say, you know I just can’t see re-signing him or whatever, does it become imperative then that you have to move one or both of those guys?
DR: It changes the equation, certainly. I have spoken with both of those players; Terry has spoken with both of those players. There is, and I can speak to it, there is very obvious direction from within the hockey team and the hockey department. Not avoiding your question, Paul, I’m just not able to answer it because we don’t know what the marketplace is going to make available and we don’t know for sure if these players, if we’re in a position to sign them long-term. But certainly as it goes, the value of players that are entering the last year of their contracts, they have one value at a trade deadline the year before, they have another value at the draft, they have another value following free agency, and then the last value is really at the following trade deadline.
A: The last one certainly goes down, the one at next year’s trade deadline goes down, but the reality whether this trade deadline or the draft is more valuable, in their case, it wasn’t the trade deadline
While I'm here: don't trade those guys. Re-sign them. Give them what they want. They are the only reason I care about this team and sure as shit I don't trust Darcy to get good return for them. Paranoia? Sure. Justified paranoia? Of course. Trading them would ruin our lives as fans, not to mention the, I'm sure, promising returns the team acquires who would be destined for failure in Buffalo. Vanek and Miller are the guys who've been great despite the historically scary voodoo that must have been put on Buffalo years back. They're resilient. They stay.
Scott Brown, from WGRZ, takes the reigns for this journey:
Q: For Ted, why isn’t Mr. Pegula here today? You’re raising ticket prices, team has missed the playoffs. Doesn’t he have an obligation answer questions about both the hockey side and the business side of the operation?
TB: That’s a great question, and the way you phrased it too: Terry hired me to run the business and speak for the business. He hired Darcy to run the hockey operations and speak for the hockey operations. He has a high level of trust in us to do that and he has empowered us to do that.
So, that’s our role. Terry’s role is more of being a typical owner. I worked for an owner, two owners in Pittsburgh, Ron Burkle and Mario [Lemieux] and they would never be somewhere like this. It’s just not, it’s not what a typical owner does.
Scott: Well, can I say for Buffalo fans they expect their owners to be responsible and responsive to what’s going on, and that means answering questions.
No, you cannot "say" for Buffalo fans. If you're going to speak for anyone, speak for stupid Buffalo fans who can't bother to understand why a man with multiple business interests clicking at one time, not to mention a family, not to mention a completely understandable aversion to answering questions from maggot reporters who are forever stuck in a sports market they publicly loathe.
You don't speak for me. I expect nothing from Terry other than an open checkbook for gnarly players and, eventually, the head of Darcy Regier. Answering questions at a press conference won't satisfy those desires.
TB: I don’t know that that’s completely true. That happens in this or any other market. Terry’s certainly available and speaks publicly and will continue to…
<some asshole probably Harrington> when is Terry available, come on? When is he available? He wouldn’t answer hockey questions one time, I have to stop it right there, Ted, come on that’s ridiculous.
TB: Terry was available to the media two, three weeks ago…
MH: … and didn’t answer any hockey questions when he was there. He refused to answer hockey questions that should have been answered by the owner. <voice raises> You weren’t even there when Lindy was fired, as Darcy told us, you were out of town…
TB: Sorry, what question do you want me to answer, do you want to know where I was that weekend?
MH: … that’s just ridiculous.
DR: What bearing would that had, that last comment about him [Black] not being here?
MH: Well, the point is…
TB: I was at a business meeting in New York.
MH: … right, you’re supposed to be speaking for Terry when he fired the coach, you weren’t even there, Darcy had to do that, you’re saying Terry’s available….
TB: Terry is available to speak on matters that involve the franchise.
MH: Alright, so I want to make an interview request right now…
TB: Let’s be clear. Mike, Mike, Terry’s not going to be available to answer every question you want to ask him.
Harrington's heart skips a beat, his brain reluctant to accept this simple undeniable truth.
MH: Maybe he should be about the firing of a 16 year head coach.
TB: No, No, That’s what he has Darcy do.
MH: And Darcy did a fine job.
Tb: EXACTLY! You get it now!
Translation: "I've explained this shit how many times since we sat down? and I've come to the conclusion that you're a self-righteous moron with terrible body odor and the reasoning skills of a second grader. I see now why people swear at you so often on Twitter since you're just such a massive douchebag."
MH: The owner should be there, too, because the owner was certainly there at the beginning.
TB: The owner was there at the beginning …
<MH interrupts inaudibly, probably something about sandwiches>
TB: Mike, behave yourself professionally, can you?
MH: <like a child> I am being professional, I’m asking a question.
Harrington is nothing more than the "are we there yet?" kid. The kid who asks "why?" all the time because he didn't understand in journalism school - if he even went? - that you only keep asking questions until you've gotten a reasonable answer and not until you've received some satisfaction akin to the time you beat your younger brother in Monopoly after stealing a few $500 bills while he was in the bathroom.
TB: Which question do you want me to answer before you interrupt me again?
MH: You say Terry is available, and I’m …
TB: Terry speaks when it’s appropriate for the owner to speak, and in the right capacity that he going to speak.
MH: The owner ..
TB: Let me finish an answer to your question! It’s not that hard!
I'll tell you something that IS hard when I hear Theodore talk like that. It reminds with "fry mick."
MH: Go ahead. It was appropriate for him to answer questions about the coach and he refused.
TB: When? What are you talking about?
MH: He was at the Harbor Center, he would not answer questions about firing of the coach, that was the first time anyone had a chance to ask him about it.
TB: And he wasn’t there to do that.
MH: He should have been. He was asked about Harbor Center, he could’ve answered reasonable question about firing the coach.
But he didn't. But he didn't have to. But he shouldn't have to when posed to him in the snarky tone of disgruntled USPS employee waiting for her smoke break.
TB: He was there to announce the investment of $172 million into our community. That’s what he did. He wasn’t there to talk about the hockey department or hiring or firing of coaches that took place two or three months before that, I don’t know…
MH: <inaudible something about “just for the record” as if he’s in a fucking courtroom and the “record” actually fucking matters, Jesus Christ this fucking guy>
TB: I understand that you want to talk to him all the time. And I understand that because he’s a dynamic person to speak with. Lies. I’d love to speak to your boss. I’d love to have Warren Buffett come in here and chat it would be awesome.
This is by far my favorite rebuttal to the "where's Pegula?" crap. Fuck it, I want to talk to Henry Ford and and am going to act like a vagina until I get my way.
MH: <some smartass comment about Terry being here around all the time>
DR: In fairness, he’s really not…
MH: … we see him on the road.
DR: No, no.
TB: You understand that he’s just not going to be at a press conference like this. You don’t like it, you don’t like it, but I wanna make sure that everyone has that expectation.
MH: I don’t want you to sit there and lie like you just did.
TB: Mike, that’s defamatory.
MH: That’s not defamatory, that’s fact, you said Terry’s available and he’s not and we all know it.
To be fair, Black did kind of bullshit them with the "Terry is available" stuff. To be fair squared, the Buffalo News sports staff could try to track down Pegula outside of a public press conference setting and do some actual reporting and journalism, as opposed to simple regurgitation of the Sabres' company line. We fans want that. We don't want you acting like little bitches when someone actually acknowledges that you're due NOTHING.
TB: Terry’s available to speak and he does. And he does. And he’s a very dynamic speaker.
Again, a lie. Pegula sounds like a pussy.
Scott Brown: When is he available and can we set up a press conference right now for next week or next month with Mr. Pegula so we can ask…
Scott! I forgot you were still here.
TB: I understand that. He hires me to run the business and speak for the business. He hired Darcy to run the hockey operations and speak for the hockey operations. And that’s what we do. When there’s appropriate times for the owner to come forward and speak, he will. HarborCenter is a great example of that, there will certainly be social events that he speaks at. That’s the typical role of an owner. I understand that everyone here wants to grill Terry and hold his feet to the fire and things like that. That should.. that’s not what the owner of a typical business does.
<Harrington speaks off mic, reportedly again about sandwiches and how he thinks the Sabres PR intern is hot>
TB: Mike, you’re really showing your bias here. I really wish…
MH: There’s no bias here.
No bias. Just stupidity with a generous helping of laziness and a side of creepy mullet.
TB: Well, I’ve already heard one of your colleagues say that they’ve written a story for tomorrow, and now you’re handling yourself this way, interrupting questions and answers.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. The Buffalo News can suck it.
Scott: If I could follow up, because Darcy just said something. I saw Terry Pegula yesterday in Buffalo. So, it’s not like he was in Florida or out of town on business. Why couldn’t he be here today? We’re spending half of the news conference on why.
He could be here today, he just chooses not to because he despises each of you with a flame so incredibly fierce it was probably lit by an unchecked line of natural gas seeping from Pegula's latest fracking adventure.
Also, you've been talking about it for half the press conference because you're all petulant children still yearning for another suckle at the teet taken from you so many years ago. This is YOUR fault. Not Ted Black's.
Also you're fault? Apartheid.
TB: Maybe I’m not being very clear because I’m not being as articulate as I need to be. Terry is not going to speak on the day-today operations of the franchise. He’s not going to speak on the business side; he hired me to do that. He hired Darcy to run the hockey operations and speak to that. The hiring or firing of a coach, that’s Darcy’s job and that’s what he’s empowered to do. And Terry’s role as an owner is going to be that of a more of a traditional owner… of any business.
Scott: He’s not going to speak on a day-to-day basis, but how about a year-to-year basis?
TB: And I don’t know, quantify the number of times Terry has spoken in the last year, but I can get that for you, he certainly has.
John Wawrow, again I am told: Darcy, looking ahead to the fact that you are getting one more opportunity and some people may say “one too many opportunities,” you know the criticism that’s been leveled at you. Why do you believe you have earned that opportunity given that some, there’s a criticism out there that perhaps you over-estimated the lineup that you had three or four years ago, and why do you believe you get that opportunity and what challenge do you face in knowing that you have the Stanley Cup objective ahead of you?
I hate it when reporters do this. YOU believe this. It is YOUR criticism. It's the Katie Couric "some say you've lied while on the floor of Congress" bullshit she spouts because she's a fucking coward and wants to be well-liked. Pro tip: Don't worry if Darcy likes you. He's a terrible GM and rambles on like he's desperate to find words to convince himself otherwise.
Those words don't exist. Please. Resign.
DR: I don’t take any of this for granted in any way, and I’m extremely grateful not just for this opportunity but for being here even on a day like today. I think this is great! The reality of it, if I didn’t have the confidence that I, in the general manager’s position along with the people I work with, could accomplish building a Stanley Cup winner, I wouldn’t be here. I can tell you that going back to ’05-’06, ’06-’07, we did build a team that contended for the Stanley Cup. We didn’t get it there, we came close, we did finish 5th overall, we did win the President’s Trophy, there’s unfinished business there, I have a lot more insight into and experience and I’ve learned a lot more in that process. I’m not an old man. My goal is to come to work every day learning something new. And it hasn’t changed, and I am. And I recognize that you can look at the performance of the team which is what you’re commenting about, and it doesn’t reflect it. I can tell you that, just that I told you before, we have gone with more determination in a very distinct direction which is about the Stanley Cup. So, I feel good about it. I love the opportunity. I understand what we’re talking about here. I understand our fan base. And I would like to think that people would give up some suffering to win the Stanley Cup. I’m willing to do it, I believe our fan base is willing to do it. We certainly don’t want to extend it for a long period of time, we want to make it as short as possible, and that’s the goal.
My boner from Black earlier, now definitely gone, and while I need to check with a Doctor, I'm pretty sure my testicles may have ascended.
Q: Just as a follow-up, because suffering has been mentioned multiple times, or at least that’s the second time.
DR: Well that’s what we’re talking about here, we’re talking about not making the playoffs, you know, the hardships.
Sports co-opting laughably overstated language to talk about fan disappointment is my favorite.
Q: Some could say Sabres fans have gone through enough suffering, for, going back to bankruptcy. Beyond that
Q: I guess the follow-up would be how much suffering’s enough?
DR: Well you have to pay the price to win the Stanley Cup. It hasn't always been the direction to win the Stanley Cup, it’s the playoffs first and hope you can roll through the playoffs. The reality of Stanley Cup championship teams outside of last season for the first time from a 13th place overall team, you had to be in the top 5. And you have to have very good teams and you have to have very good players and you have to suffer or go through the process of acquiring those players and putting those teams together. Not every franchise is willing to do that. And so you satisfy yourselves and your fan base with a playoff. But you have to do more than that if you’re set on winning a championship.
The thing that bugs me the most about this, besides the fact that this dick still has a job, is that he uses '05-'07 as some sort of badge of honor, as evidence he has what it takes to build a winner, but then talks about how the franchise is shifting towards a new paradigm. If he could basically build a contender under Golisano, why are we being fed this narrative - see the Sabres have one, too - about needing to suffer through some shit years. Unless that narrative is just a fucking excuse to make us tolerate the team failing to meet even the most basic of expectations.
And as a sidenote, if you’re suggesting that I’m out of line to tell you what I’m going to write tomorrow, after 14 years following this team, it’s pretty easy to have an inkling of what you’re going to say about the Buffalo Sabres.
Oh man I hope you stayed around for this one. After 14 years of following this team (read: I've been doing this too long), it's pretty easy to have an inkling of what you're going to say (read: such that I've stopped having independent thoughts based on the circumstances unfolding around me, but instead reach into my file cabinet brain and mail it in).
Jerry isn't trying anymore. He wanted to write a piece about the Sabres taking advantage of a "captive audience" in their fan base, because it sure seemed a reasonable conclusion and would make for great page views, and rather than listen to Black's apparently honest response, and internalize the explanation about revenue sharing and the need to grow ticket revenue as a motivation for higher pricing, Jerry was intent on writing the story he knew was the truth.
I repeat: You're a hack. Leave the hackery to the amateurs like me.
TB: I appreciate you sharing that last part with me. The first question was “is Darcy my employee?”, no. Darcy reports to Terry Pegula. As do I. The decision …
<inaudible from press>
<inaudible from Darcy>
TB: Terry was here, to answer the point earlier, when does Terry speak, Terry spoke when the lockout was over, announcing Darcy’s …I’m sorry
Q: The question was, who decides Darcy…
TB: Well I was using that as an example that that would be Terry and that would be an announcement that Terry would make. If he replaced me, I would assume Terry would make that announcement himself as well.
I know this is long. Fuck, I know. But I'm still enjoying it. And I hope you are, too.
On the bright side, I still think all the reporters there are still clueless as to the organizational structure of the Sabres, despite Black explaining it a half dozen times today.
I'll cut some sections for all of our sake, but we finally got to some actual hockey questions:
Q: Darcy, would you speak to the future makeup of the team? Let’s see you got Armia, Larsson, Girgensons, and you mentioned centers earlier.Are you confident that that position is headed in the right direction? Also, Steve Ott, will there be any contract talks with him? And John Scott as well?
Whoever asked this needs to get the fuck out.
DR: Yes on the last two. SCOTT. JOHN SCOTT. This is hell we're in. Armia was part of the championship team that won the Finnish league. So he is obviously a good prospect. Larsson and Girgensons have both performed really well at the American League level, they’re on a line together and have played very well in the first two games. Mikhail came back, as you know, from Quebec, played here and as shown very good, is moving in the right direction, has developed, for me, has made very good progress this year. And he will play in Rochester, he played the second game, and will play Wednesday and Thursday as well. So those players are moving in the right direction. They reflect the future of this franchise. We hope to continue that and add to that in this draft.
Paul H: With <walrus exhale>, you’re already the youngest team when you made those trades that happened, moving forward now, and looking at a trade, are you just looking for picks or are you looking for young players or are you looking for a 29 year old guy who might be in the top 10 in scoring or is it too early to be looking for guys like that, er er, in free agency, are you looking for the top free agents or isn’t that what you’re about right now as far as trying to build this team?
This motherfucker talks like he writes which means shitty. Translation: "Are you considering all options possible?"
DR: You’re looking at, in the right situation you’re looking at all of those. You asked about Steve Ott. Steve Ott plays a very important role for this hockey club. Not only what he does on the ice, but what he does off the ice. The work he does in and around the younger players, teaching them what it means to be a professional. Like licking fools. So he becomes a very important player. With respect to the top players who we hope to acquire, they need to fit into, you know, preferably into an age group. You certainly need to block enough quality players together so that they can grow and compete together and win together, and not have the older guys fall off on the one end or the younger guys be too young to contribute. So your resources have to be brought together in a form that is going to allow a group to win.
Q: When you’re talking about suffering in terms of the rebuild, um, it sounds like you’re asking for patience, is that at a fair thing to say?
DR: It is.
Q: And if so, is it fair to expect that with the disappointment over the last two seasons and the timeframe set up by this organization saying the Stanley Cup was, you know, three years away, three years ago. Is it fair to expect that?
DR: If there was another alternative and if there is another alternative, we will do everything we can to find it. Short of that alternative, it may well require some patience and, but the payout is what it’s about, it’s about and where Terry is, it’s about a Stanley Cup championship, not just a playoff run.
I highly doubt the franchise expects this kind of patience from us. They're for sure asking for it, and fuck we're probably going to give it to them because we're idiots but well, sports, right guys?
DR: He is going to have a procedure to take care of his issue.
Q. The hip or the lung?
IT HAS TO BE THE LUNG, RIGHT? HIS LUNG IS FUCKED UP oh man #becauseitsbuffalo
DR: The hip. And he should be 100% at the start of the season.
DAMMIT. Not sure how a fucked lung can allow you to be at 100% but Darcy is a magician with maths.
Q: The other question would be are you dismayed at all by some of the comments that Ryan and Thomas have said, I mean you want to talk to them, you've already said here you’d be interested in having them in a Stanley Cup team. They seem to be one foot out the door, and certainly the five hundredth game looked like Ryan’s farewell to everybody.
Nice command of the narrative with this question. Really well done.
DR: I know that things, and how you feel, and how you even feel a day later or days later… it changes. It changes. I feel like I’ve got a great relationship with those two individuals. They;’re both terrific people and terrific hockey players and I would love to keep them here going forward. It’s an unknown right now. They’re under contract for next season. We’ll do everything we can to make them a part of this, but we’ll have to see. Beyond that, I have the utmost respect for those individuals.
Oh. Um. Ok, I'll be over here crying if you need me.
MH: Last one, Ted, one quick question on hockey. Is there any concern organizationally that any cost overruns at HarborCenter might affect hockey operations?
TB: No, and that’s a good question. And before we end here, I want to apologize to you, Mike. That was very rude of me. And for anyone listening, Mike Harrington, I want to apologize to you for suggesting to you that you were showing your bias. I lost my temper. And I also want to apologize to you, Jerry, and ask if you’d both forgive me…. I apologize, you guys have your jobs to do and I respect what you do.
No. No. No. NO!!!!
This was going so well. If you can't give me good hockey, Ted Black, at least give me hilarious smack-on-the-taint snark towards our unbelievably deficient local sports media. You had these guys dead to rights, and then you fucking apologize. Christ on a cracker, the Sabres are fucking soft.
There was other stuff, but I just can't. This fucking team.