How Does Darcy Regier Still Have a Job?
Almost 8 months ago to the day, Buffalo sacked Lindy Ruff as Head Coach.
After 16 years in the job, Ruff was out as a 6-10-1 start saw the Sabres sit 13th in the East. At the time I felt Ruff carried the can for problems higher up the Sabres organisation.
Today the Sabres sit bottom of the Atlantic Division and are 0-5-1; so again I have to ask the question – how does Darcy Regier keep his job?
As I said in February, Regier has done a lot of good work during his time in Buffalo. Along with Ruff, he helped the Sabres navigate some decidedly choppy waters and remain competitive on the ice for the most part.
When Terry Pegula came to town the years being spend thrift were over; the Sabres were free to spend and compete with the best.
They didn’t, they haven’t and they still aren’t.
The aforementioned poor start cost Ruff his job, but not Regier. At the time Buffalo were tied on points with the Islanders and 2 points ahead of Washington; both of whom went on to make the post season whilst Buffalo finished 11th, 7 points shy of 8th.
Ron Rolston was given the reigns and tasked with helping the Sabres move forward, but a roster that was average at best under Ruff got worse and the relationship between the Sabres and their best player deteriorated; to the point where the biggest surprise of the summer may have been Ryan Miller staying in Buffalo!
It’s not just that the Sabres are winless, New Jersey are too after all, it’s that they look completely impotent out there.
Enigmatic ‘co-Captain’ (how frikkin’ stupid is having co-Captains?!) Thomas Vanek has 2 goals in 6 games and accounts for 33.333333333(etc)% of the clubs goals…
Tyler Myers, the young man who was supposed to become the Sabres stud D man for years to come and a future Norris Trophy winner, is -7 and looks more like a traffic cone than a Norris candidate. The idea that Henrik Tallinder’s return would pull Myers out of his funk and back to his 2009/10 Calder Trophy winning form hasn’t materialised, as the veteran Swede is on the shelf with an upper body injury.
Buffalo’s depth also remains questionable as stars such as Christian Ehrhoff and Drew Stafford have combined for just 1 point thus far. Everyone goes through bad patches; but whilst the smooth skating German struggles no one else is there to pick up the slack.
Thus far Buffalo’s most news worthy effort is John Scott’s show down with Phil Kessel in the pre-season.
The franchise won’t remain winless forever. They’re getting decent goaltending from Miller and Jhonas Enroth and have lost by a single goal in four of their six games (including an OT loss for that solitary point they currently have).
But the lack of ‘jump’ in the Sabres right now will cost them. Bad starts can end play-off hopes as easily as strong starts can make them; ask the 2010/11 Devils who started the season 9-22-2 under John MacLean and then went 29-16-3 under Jacques Lemaire, but still missed the post season. And that Devils team was better than this Buffalo one.
With Ruff gone, and Rolston failing with the same dud tools his predecessor had, there is only one place to point the finger now.
Both Vanek and Miller are UFAs in the summer. Will they want to stay with a failing franchise? One that has talked a big game but doesn’t seem to want to put people in place to make it happen?
Regier has been a wonderful servant of the Sabres, but he’s gone as far as he can with the franchise. It felt like a mistake backing Regier this summer; charging him with carrying out the rebuild in Buffalo. It looks like a mistake right now.
If Buffalo want to change the culture, want to win a Stanley Cup, then it’s time for a change.