Heated Press Conference Closes Sabres Season To Forget; Regier Staying, Rolston's Fate Undecided
At their end of the year press conference, many questions were answered regarding the direction of the franchise, but it was all overshadowed by the sparks erupting from contention between The Buffalo News and the Sabres organization, specifically Ted Black and Terry Pegula.
The Sabres season ending press conference was a great reflection of their season as a whole. It started with high expectations (news of the GM/coach) but quickly went downhill (Sabres fans will have to endure some suffering) before careening into a vitriolic tailspin as reporters from The Buffalo News got in to a war of words with Sabres president Ted Black (and that's putting it mildly).
Some solid, concrete information came out before the fireworks, most notably the fates of general manager Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston. Ted Black announced that Regier would be remaining with the club, citing his January extension as a time frame for that decision. Ron Rolston's future, on the other hand, was much less clear. "Ron situation is that he and I will sit down...reevaluate the season, and have discussions about our relationship going forward," said Regier. "But I would add that I think he did a very good job under trying circumstances."
The Sabres GM also revealed that the rebuilding process that the team has committed itself to began last year with the trade of Paul Gaustad. "You need the top players, which more often than not require the top picks", said Regier. "It's not about the playoffs, it's about the Stanley Cup. It probably needs an understanding from our fanbase that what Terry is asking us...it may require some suffering."
As to whether Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek were a part of that future, Regier said that he couldn't make a statement on their futures yet because the GM wasn't sure what the league marketplace would make available for the services of either player, and that marketplace will change at the draft, after, and during the trade deadline next year. He also said that contract extension talks will take place with both Steve Ott (yay) and John Scott (boo).
Black was asked about the highly publicized season ticket price increase, notification of which was sent out on Fan Appreciation Day. Black cited the new CBA as the reason for the increase, saying that for a small market team like Buffalo, it was very important to qualify for revenue sharing, and to qualify, the organization must show a percentage growth in some way. "I'm not raising tickets by 4% to punish anyone," responded the team president. Black seemed ambivalent about the timing of the letter, saying that "it goes out at or around this time every year," though he did apologize if any fans felt offended by the timing, especially if it was also your birthday (double-whammy, I suppose).
The main theme, if there was one, was the continued organizational shift from being a team that just wants to make the playoffs to a team that can truly win it all. Regier stated that Pegula's desire to win the Cup is stronger than ever, and the team has already tried and will continue to try new things to move the franchise in that direction.
The whole thing is almost an hour long, but here are the highlights. Check out this video for Regier's views on the franchise rebuilding process.
And here's the cringe-worthy video of TBN's Mike Harrington going off on Ted Black.