General Manager Darcy Regier and Head Coach Lindy Ruff will be back with the Sabres for the 2012-13 season.
The premise is simple, Owner Terry Pegula and Team President looked over the last 14 months--the time that the regime has been in power--and decided that they liked the direction the team was headed in.
Quick re-hash. The Sabres missed the playoffs this season despite having the fourth highest payroll in the league. They've missed the playoffs three of the last five seasons. In the two seasons they've made it, they were bounced in the first round. And every season save for the 2009-10 season, they've made a furious second-half push for a playoff spot (missing three of four times.)
Regardless of the aforementioned failures post Drury/Briere, the tandem of Regier and Ruff will be back.
They got themselves a mulligan due in large part to injuries, more specifically, injuries to the back-end.
Back in January, Pegula set things up by saying "It's hard to evaluate something that has been torn apart the way this thing has." He continued, "It's like a merry-go-round every night. You look on the ice and what are your defensive pairs tonight? Hell, who knows? Who's healthy?"
It's a great read from Bucky Gleason in the Buffalo News from January 12, 2012. The team had the exact same record at that point in the season (18-19-5) as they had the previous season and Gleason makes all the points attributable to this season: "Their offense has been anemic for weeks," Gleason wrote, "their defense has been poor, their franchise goaltender hasn't played well and their effort has been lethargic on too many nights."
Which, by the way, are the same things we fans have been witnessing for the better part of (now) five seasons, unlike the owner who's only been witnessing it first hand for 14 months.
But, the head honcho preferred this approach, "My attitude now is, 'Let's put Humpty [Dumpty] back together again,' " Pegula said. "I want our players to know that I thought we had a pretty good hockey team until all this happened. Let's paste it back together and start a new season."
WGR's Paul Hamilton has been saying for months that the duo of Regier and Ruff would be back. When Ted Black told John Wawrow of the Associated Press of the plans, Hamilton said there was never a question. "It wasn't anything even discussed after this season," he said. "Owner Terry Pegula is comfortable with both men and even in January, he never wanted to make a change."
Yeah, Hamilton has been saying it for months, but no one really wanted to believe it. How can this duo of Regier and Ruff, with the record of mediocrity they've had over the last 14 seasons retain their jobs?
Perhaps one would find out at the end of season press conference.
Except for the fact that there will not be one.
What it comes down to is that Terry Pegula is the owner of the Buffalo Sabres. He will give his GM and Head Coach every opportunity, and then some, to get this team to the promised land.
We, as fans, must come to grips with this fact concerning Pegula and the Buffalo Sabres: anything that happened before February 22, 2011 does not exist in the mind of ownership.