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Crticizing Management...Fair or unfair?

The criticism of management continues in Buffalo despite the team making some signings in the recent days, including the signing of goalie Ryan Miller. Our favorite writer at the Buffalo news actually found it in his heart to praise management, although he never mentioned Larry Quinn. In the same piece however he still found it necessary to mention how the team failed with Drury, Briere and Campbell. I find it hilarious that he refuses to admit he was wrong even though it is quite apparent that there is no room for them here. I would love for him or anyone else to explain how the Sabres would have been able to keep all of them along with Vanek, Roy, Gaustad, Miller and hopefully Pominville.

The criticism of management didn't initiate with the staff at the local paper, they just magnified it. It really began the after the 2005-2006 season when Mike Grier and Jay McKee chose to leave via free agency. Both players felt that it was necessary to publicly criticize management regarding their negotiating tactics and said the team was not committed to winning. Here is a time line of events that have led us to where we are now...

2005-2006

  • The Sabres surprise everyone in the hockey world by advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals and losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes. The Sabres lost in seven games to Carolina despite suffering a bunch of injuries, including four regular defensemen.
  • The Sabres lose Jay Mckee (St. Louis Blues) and Mike Grier (San Jose Sharks) to free agency
  • Danny Briere and J.P. Dumont are among the Sabres players that file for salary arbitration.
  • Danny Briere is awarded $5 million per season in arbitration, an award that the Sabres eventually agree to.
  • J.P. Dumont was awarded $2.9 million per season in arbitration, the Sabres were forced to decline the award because of financial restrictions forced by the salary cap.

2006-2007

  • The Sabres start the season by winning 10 consecutive games to begin the season.
  • The Sabres are up against the salary cap all season and are forced to make roster moves daily to remain under the cap.
  • Martin Biron is traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in order to free up salary cap space in an effort to strengthen the team for a run at the Stanley Cup.
  • The Sabres complete the regular season as the Presidents Trophy winner for the first time in franchise history.
  • The Ottawa Senators defeat the Sabres four games to one in the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Speculation begins immediately regarding the future of Danny Briere and Chris Drury.
  • Danny Briere declines the Sabres five year $25 million contract offer and decides that he will test free agency, Chris Drury quickly follows suit and announces he will test free agency.
  • Danny Briere signs with the Philadelphia Flyers and Chris Drury with the New York Rangers on the first day of free agency.
  • The Sabres hold a press conference to explain the loss of Danny Briere and Chris Drury and this is where the war between the organization and the local paper escalates.
  • The Edmonton Oilers offer Thomas Vanek a huge seven year contract for over $49 million and the Sabres quickly announce that they will match the offer.
  • They re-sign Derek roy to a six-year $24 million contract.

2007-2008

  • They trade away Brian Campbell at the trade deadline because they were unable to reach a contract extension with him.
  • They fail to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs after advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals two consecutive seasons.
  • Paul Gaustad is signed to a four-year deal before he reaches free agency on July 1.
  • The Sabres trade away Steve Bernier and quickly trade for defenseman Craig Rivet.
  • Ryan Miller is signed to a five-year contract extension and there are discussions with Jason Pominville on a possible contract extension.

When the past three seasons are all laid out it makes things much more clear as to how management has handled the team. I was told last season that if I thought management was making good decisions, I just simply didn't get it. The truth is that plenty of people understood how this would play out and management has made the right decisions all along. There is not enough money to pay all these guys and they had to make decisions as to who were the most important, they chose the young guys and allowed the older guys to walk.