2012 NHL Trade Deadline: Inside the Sabres' War Room

Deep within the bowels of the First Niagara Center on Monday, the Sabres' brain trust gathered to determine and discuss the possible moves they wanted to make on deadline day. Luckily, we had a tape recorder in the room to document this monumental day:

9:00AM - Darcy Regier enters the War Room, to find Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, president Ted Black, and owner Terry Pegula already present.

Darcy Regier: Oh, hey guys!

Terry Pegula: You're late.

Darcy: We said 9:00 I thought, no?

Terry: If you're not early, in my book, you're already late. It's a big day for you, Darcy. Do you know how I became successful? Hard work. When I first invested money in East Resources, I never thought I woul-

Lindy Ruff: (under his breath) Oh boy...never heard this story before...

Terry: What?

Lindy: Oh...um...I was just saying...yeah...big day, Darcy.

Darcy: (turning to Lindy) Gee, thanks for the backup, partner.

Terry: Well boys, I did promise to be hands off when it comes to this type of stuff, so I will leave. Give me a call if you need anything, and I'll check back by phone later. And remember gentlemen, the sole purpose of the Buffalo Sabres existence from this day forward is to win a Stanley C--

Lindy: Yeah, yeah, we know. Maybe just chill out with that for a little while?

11:00AM - After going over a few possible trade scenarios, the three members of the Sabres front office decide to chart out their final game plan.

Darcy: So, I think we should try to move Gaustad, but only if we can get a first round pick in return.

Ted Black: HAHA that's a good one, Darcy.

Lindy: (laughing) Yeah - do you have some Jedi mind control over other GMs or something?

Darcy: I'm serious, guys! Wait a second...do you hear that?

The three men look up, where there is a rustling sound coming from above the ceiling tiles.

Ted: I thought Sabretooth told me he was getting rid of those mice!

Lindy: You do realize he's not actually a real prehistoric cat, right?

Before Ted Black could answer the question, a CRASH came down from the ceiling, followed by a scream. Once the dust from the ceiling tiles settled, the men looked down to see someone sprawled out on the floor, groaning.

Darcy: Paul Gaustad???

Goose: Ohhhhhh...my head...oh, uh, hi guys!

Lindy: What the hell were you doing in the ceiling?

Goose: Oh, I was just...um...checking the heating ducts. That's all. It was kind of cold in the.......OKAY! You caught me! I was spying on you guys. I don't want to leave!!

Darcy: C'mon Paul, it's a business. You know that. If we can get a first round pick for you, we have to take it.

Goose: Wait, what? First round pick?? HAHA, good one. Okay, Darcy. Looks like I'm safe. I'll see you fellas at the morning skate tomorrow! (leaves room laughing)

12:30PM - The Sabres' front office continue to work the phones, but trade prospects were beginning to look dim.

Ted: So we can't get a pick for Gaustad. Don't you think we should move on to something else? We could really use a center to build on for the future.

Darcy: I thought you'd never ask. Lindy, hand me the hat!

Lindy: Yes! I've been waiting for this!

He reaches under the table and grabs a large top hat with a Sabres logo on it.

Darcy: In this hat I've placed slips of paper with all the young, promising center prospects in the league. We draw one, and that's who we go after.

Ted: This has to be the dumbest idea I've ever heard.

Darcy: Lindy! Pull a name!

Lindy: (rummaging in the hat) Okay...here we go...Cody Hodgson, Vancouver Canucks.

Darcy: Who? Hold on, let me Google him. (typing) Ah, yes. Sounds like a promising player. Okay, good work gentlemen, let's get some lunch.

Ted: But wait.......what are we going to offer them? C'mon guys! We haven't accomplished anything today!

Darcy: Don't sweat it, dude. Let's eat first. Lindy, get La Nova on the phone.

2:50PM - the room is littered with empty La Nova pizza boxes and Tim Horton's cups. The three members of the Sabres' brain trust are asleep with their heads down on the table. The phone rings.

Ted: (picks up phone) Hello?.......oh hi, Terry........yes sir........yes........we have some things in the works........yes......will do......bye. (hangs up phone). GUYS! WAKE UP! WE HAVE 10 MINUTES!!!

Lindy: (rubbing his eyes) OH CRAP OH CRAP OH CRAP, what are we going to do?!?

Darcy: Geez fellas, take a chill pill. Hand me the phone. Get me Nashville.

Ted: Nashville? Why Nashville?

Darcy: Actually, I'm not really sure. They just seem like suckers.

But before Ted Black could ask what was going on, Darcy Regier was on the phone with Nashville Predators GM, David Polie.

Darcy: Davey Boy! How's it hanging? What are your thoughts on Paul Gaustad?.......Well, okay, but what about his faceoff skills? And he has grit too. TRUE GRIT!........A second rounder? How bout make it a first, and I'll throw in a fourth?...........oh c'mon Davey, throw me a bone here............Okay, dinner at Chef's on me too........okay, DEAL!

Darcy hangs up the phone. Lindy and Ted stare at him in silence.

Lindy: What just happened?

Darcy: Um...we got a first round pick for Paul Gaustad. SUCKERS!!!!

The three men burst out in joyous laughter. Crying is heard from above the ceiling tiles.

Darcy: I'm not done yet. Get me Vancouver! Let's get that Hodgson kid!

Ted Black quickly dials the phone and gets Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis on the phone.

Darcy: Mikey! How's the wife and kids?........that's good. Hey, listen, this Hodgson kid.........what do you mean no chance? We'll give you Zack Kassian..............oh, you never heard of him? Big hitter. Take those Chuck Norris jokes and substitute Zack Kassian. That's him. I'll throw in Gragnani.............He sucks? C'mon, didn't you see him in the playoffs last year? That's why we're scratching him. Saving him in case we make it!............really?..........okay, thanks, Mike.

Darcy stares silently at the phone as he hangs it up.

Darcy: We just got Cody Hodgson and some other dude for Kassian and Gragnani.

Lindy: A promising, young center for two guys I don't even like??? I could kiss you!

Darcy: Woah, slow down there buddy.

Ted: I'll get Terry on the phone. Darcy, how did you do all of this?

Darcy: Honestly, I have no idea. I blacked out.

So the three men called their boss, Terry Pegula, and celebrated the work they did. Was it likely these moves would help with a miracle playoff push? Probably not, but the often criticized front office managed to make some moves that point towards a promising future. And and least for the moment, it was clear they would all keep their jobs. Best of all, there was still some pizza left over to bring home.

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