Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
News: NHL Board of Governors chairman Jeremy Jacobs says the Sabres need to raise ticket prices.
View: Yeah, that should be an easy sell, eh? The Clouseau-esque management in Buffalo bumbled away the team’s two top forwards to free agency shortly after failing to live up to high expectations in the playoffs. That’s the perfect time to ask the fans to dig a little deeper.
Thing is Jacobs, who doubles as the owner of Buffalo’s divisional rivals in Boston, is right. There’s still a waiting list for season tickets in Buffalo, and the team has built considerable goodwill over the past couple seasons. A minor price bump on top of what currently rank as the lowest prices in the league would be unlikely to eat away at that, and four bucks a ticket would generate an extra $3 million that could be used toward player procurement in the future.
read on plus more news and views…
added 12:06pm, Adam Proteau of the Hockey News on the comments from Jacobs,
This man deserves a spot on Last Comic Standing. He’s been jacking up the cost of Bruins tickets for decades, and look what’s happened to them. If I were Sabres owner Thomas Golisano, I’d be doing the opposite of whatever Jacobs says.
read more from Adam…
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
In fact, big-market teams do have a distinct edge. Teams from larger (see: wealthy) markets, such as Philadelphia and New York, can offer longterm deals loaded with more money up front because they can afford to buy out players toward the end of the contract. The structure of the deals helps them circumvent the salary cap while still drawing the better players.
Understand, the big-market advantage wasn’t the reason the Sabres lost Drury and Briere. They could have kept both for less money over fewer years than the co-captains eventually received as unrestricted free agents. It wasn’t until Drury and Briere hit the open market that New York and Philly could impose their leverage.
added 8:41am, from the New York Times,
But the small-market teams appear to be struggling again. Buffalo lost Drury and Brière without seeming to make a serious move to keep either one. Edmonton struggled to lure players — including Rangers center Michael Nylander, who agreed to a contract with the Oilers, then backed out to go to Washington — until it finally landed Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray last week for five years and $27 million.
The small-market teams have the same amount of money to spend as teams like the Rangers, although some would rather stay closer to the cap’s minimum figure ($34 million next season) than to the top.
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
Asked if he would have been so quick to sign that new three-year contract if he’d known what was coming, Ruff said, “Hindsight is 20-20, but it’s something that I’d rather not even comment on.”
Surely, Ruff knew he would get that question. He had nearly a week to prepare himself. He could have given the easy, diplomatic answer and said he signed his deal because he loves the team and the city and there’s no place he’d rather be, regardless of the roster.
Ruff did say some of the right things. He said the Sabres had overcome adversity before and would do so again. But he couldn’t lie. He could not say that, given the recent chain of events, he wouldn’t have at least considered another NHL coaching job.
from the Buffalo Sabres,
Although he didn’t officially begin playing ice hockey until the age of 10, T.J. Brennan was born to play the game. Or at least that’s what he’ll tell you.
Brennan was faced with a difficult decision coming out of high school. Receiving multiple collegiate scholarships in lacrosse, Brennan choose to forgo a higher education and roll the dice with the sport he loves, opting to play hockey for St. John’s Fog Devils of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Multiple NHL sources have told WGR that the Sabres are in line for a potential New Year’s Day game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Another source, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Penguins have agreed to be the visiting team for such a contest, with Buffalo and Detroit as possible homes. It’s also reporting that NBC is tentatively calling the event, “The Ice Bowl.”
added 11:05am, via the Hockey News,
An NHL source, who spoke with THN.com Tuesday morning, says an official announcement could be made within the next two weeks.
from the Buffalo News,
“For the record, Darcy Regier did call Pat Brisson in January,” Quinn said Friday. “There was no offer back to us about any kind of discount or anything. So I think we ought to make the record clear on that. If there had been and everybody came together and said, ‘Let’s all chip in,’ we would have tried to figure out a way.”
According to Brisson, the Sabres never called his office at any point during the season. In fact, he hadn’t heard from them since last summer, the day before Briere was awarded a one-year contract worth $5 million. Brisson at the time was pressing the Sabres to sign Briere to a fiveyear deal worth $25 million, which the Sabres rejected.
from Larry Felser of the Buffalo News,
I know we’re all supposed to buy the theory that Buffalo’s management is wholly to blame for the departure of the two stars, but I find it difficult to believe that the players’ agents weren’t aware that there would be several pots of gold being stirred by rich and desperate franchises at the end of the season.
I also don’t buy the theory that the departure of Briere is the end of civilization as we know it. Danny is a terrific little player, fun to watch. He’s probably worth the $5 million the Sabres were paying him and another million or so they were prepared to pay him in a new contract. I don’t think he would have been a wise buy at the $10 million the Flyers are going to pay him next season and $52 million overall, especially considering the contract is for eight years.
from Jerry Sulivan of the Buffalo News,
“People ask why we didn’t negotiate with Thomas,” Quinn said. “We didn’t because we didn’t have a party that wanted to, because this was the route they were following. You can tell when discussions get to a certain point that someone has a different option.”
Quinn made it sound as if there had been a long history of talks with Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett. That wasn’t quite the case. Asked when he had begun talks with Bartlett, Regier said, “I’ve had a couple of conversations with him.”
Pressed for more details, Regier said he didn’t have an actual date. Finally, he said, “probably a general one a couple of weeks ago.”
from Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
“We always had an attitude here that we don’t do these things,” Quinn said at this afternoon’s news conference in HSBC Arena. “When it comes to the Edmonton Oilers, if there’s an opportunity to put an offer sheet on a player as long as we’re alive, we’ll be comfortable doing that. They can expect it if it’s in our best interest.”
Lowe wasn’t impressed.
“It’s quite a bold statement by that organization,” the seven-time NHL All-Star said. “I think it’s rather juvenile on their part.
added 9:35pm, from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
This is what life has become for the Edmonton Oilers: They go after a restricted free agent from another small-market team, something they thought they’d never do; they offer a staggering seven-year contract worth $50-million (U.S.); they tick off the managing partner of the Buffalo Sabres, who vows revenge for “as long as we’re alive.” …
And still the Oilers don’t get their man.
What in the name of Michael Nylander is going on here? Did Chris Pronger’s wife put a hex on Rexall Place before she left town?
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
You don’t make your star player wait. You swallow hard and do the deal. They knew the market was taking off. When Briere got $5 million for one year from the arbitrator, you figured Drury would command well over $6 million a year on the open market. Drury got a shade over $7 million a year from the Rangers, and he didn’t test the market. If he’d opened it up to the entire NHL, he probably could have gotten $8 million.
But the Sabres left Drury hanging for two weeks, and it cost them. They choked. They let the Sabres’ competitive soul get away. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but it will go down as Quinn’s failure. Anyone who has done business with Quinn knows he can be a bully. This was one time where the Sabres needed a bully to get the deal done.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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