Firing Darcy Regier Now Isn’t The Answer

Fans are both the best and worst part of sports. When things are going well, their support can propel a team over the top, taking them to new heights and the two sides share a level of happiness that is hard to match. The connection is special and both sides feel as apart of it all as they possibly can.

But when things aren’t going well? Things turn quickly. The fan base becomes unruly, unhappy, and irrational. It’s easy to understand: fans invest themselves emotionally in these guys wearing familiar laundry and want some sort of payoff for that investment. Which brings me to the Buffalo Sabres.

Mikhail Grigorenko made the Sabre out of camp. (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

Mikhail Grigorenko made the Sabre out of camp. (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

The wheels have come off in the last few years, starting with their missing the playoffs two years ago despite high expectations. It continued last year with the firing of the longest tenured coach in the league, Lindy Ruff. This year? The team may hit new levels of offensive ineptitude.

All that said, it’s totally understandable that the fans are upset. But those calling for the head of Darcy Regier, I have this to say to you: firing him right now makes no sense. Not a lick.

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to say that Regier should have been fired when Ruff was let go; a complete cleansing of the former regime and a true new start. It was clear that Regier chopped Ruff to save his own neck and it appears to have worked.

But since that point, Darcy has done some good. He got the most out of veterans Jason Pominville, Jordan Leopold, and Robyn Regehr at the trade deadline. He’s shown a knack for getting great value out of his trades. Hell, he’s the guy that got a first round draft pick for Paul Gaustad (which eventually became Zemgus Girgensons, so that worked out). So there’s some hope that, should veterans Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek be shown the door, Regier will get maximum value for them.

Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t a defense of Regier. He built the team as it stands and he’s responsible for the necessity of the rebuild. He put together a team that wasn’t going to win, at least not significantly, and rode high on the three seasons they were actually a good team (2005/06 through 2007/08). He deserves to lose his job.

Regier should have been shown the door along with Ruff. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

Regier should have been shown the door along with Ruff. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

But the fact of the matter is that management gave him a pass and allowed him to spearhead the rebuild. They trust his ability to acquire pieces for the future and build through the draft. So after a bad start, for what was expected to be a bad team, management is ready to cave to fan request and can him ten games in?

What good would an early season firing of a GM do? It’s not like firing a coach; that has the potential to spark a stagnant team, get them going in a different direction, and change the culture in the locker room. Firing a GM does NONE of that. None of the players interact with him, see him regularly, or likely even think about him very often. It’s not going to change the on-ice product in the short term. If you want to fire him after the season, fine, okay. But doing it now is simply making a move for the sake of making a move.

It’s hard to see, but the Sabres are on the right track. They’re building from within, giving time and experience to their young players, building with an eye towards the future. But with that path comes many trials, many growing pains, and many losses. It’s hard to have patience with a team that has never won a thing, but that’s where we are.

So fire Darcy. Don’t fire Darcy. Just know that either way, nothing is going to change in the interim if he’s shown the door.

Ryan is a lead writer for The Hockey Writers as well as editor for Mile High Sticking and co-owner of The Farm Club. Follow him on Twitter to discuss all things puck, Bills football, or his hatred of all things Philly

Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf

I'm a lifelong Buffalo sports fan who writes for The Farm Club, The Hockey Writers, and Get Real Hockey. I'm also known to babble about pro wrestling and, no, I have no mental difficiencies. That I'm aware of. Seriously.
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8 Comments

  1. Can we just fire Ron then? Biggest deadbeat coach in my 20 years as a fan. Holy hell. He’s literally the most monotone yet obnoxious interviewee I’ve ever heard in a pre-game show. Here’s to hoping we don’t pass on another Patrick Roy… *cheers*

  2. I think you’re totally wrong. Darcy Regier has baffled me with his decisions for years. His poor hockey IQ is highlighted by the fact that, if it’s true as you say that he was involved in canning Lindy Ruff to save his own butt, he ends up with a confused and inexperienced coach behind the bench, goons instead of cohesive, hard team play, and nothing in his hand right now for Miller and Vanek, both of whom will have a hard time convincing anyone that they’re worth what they might have fetched had they a little more talent around them. But I won’t blame Regier for wanting to save his butt, I’ll blame an owner who put his trust in the wrong guy.

    I’m not saying it wasn’t time for Lindy to move on after all those years with one team – the voice gets stale. But Lindy is a good coach and you just mark my works that he’ll have some good years as a coach in this league. Darcy Regier couldn’t land a GM job with any other franchise and it says here he’ll never be an NHL GM again once the Sabres wake up.

    This team is not just young. Since the regular season began they’ve played with no passion (gooning doesn’t qualify). This is a timid roster that frankly, too often looks nervous and surprised when they’re in possession of the puck. I’ve never seen the Sabres in such disarray, and I don’t think there are more than 2 or 3 youngsters on the squad who have a solid NHL career in front of them. No offense to any player in particular but this are a poor excuse for an NHL roster, led by a coach whose bewilderment is contagious; whose most featured media clips are goon hits; and Darcy Regier’s pawprints are all over this mess.

    I love the Sabres. I want them to compete again. This team as presently constituted is not capable of competing this month, this year, next year, or the year after. And if I’m wrong and this team succeeds (let’s define that by saying 75% of the current roster is still on the roster when they win in the first round of the playoffs; you gotta admit that’s a pretty modest definition of “Success” given our owner said the only purpose of the Sabres is now to win Stanley Cups when he bought the team) you all have the right to call me an idiot who doesn’t understand the sport I’ve been watching for 50 years.

  3. You’re completely wrong. Regier should be fired today, as he should have been fired countless times in the past five years. And I just knew you’d mention the return on Gaustad, which Regier apologists like to compare to the Senators return on Yashin. Give me a break. A first round pick is nice. But applauding Regier for this one tiny move in a career full of failures is selective thinking at its best. It’d be like saying, “Wow, that house has a really nice front door,” WHEN THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE AND BURNING TO THE GROUND. Regier is a joke of a GM. He threw his buddy, Lindy, under the bus to save his job. I have been rooting for this team for 30 years and they will not go forward until he is finally removed.

  4. I agree with Ryan. Firing Regier wouldnt change anything. Btw, the same accounts for Rolston. Lets face it, the playoffs are not an option this year, even with a few winning streaks..the team right now just doesnt have the power, experience and the sniper abilities for a complete season. But after this painful start i came to accept it…and so should all the fans… be happy with the games they play and try to see the positive side of things, like the Zadorov development. The Sabres are following the right path, although its takes much longer time and is way more painful then we all hoped for…but nobody helps the team with “fi-re dar-cy” or “booo”chants… if you really want to see yourself as a “fan”, then cheer when theyre down, not only if they raise the cup!

  5. he has had how many years in that office and this is what, his third rebuild?? he should have been building a championship team with the great coach he had, not expecting him to get blood from a stone! This team and its failures are his fault! There should be not “rebuilding years” when your owner walks into town and opens his pocketbook! You build a winner! and Darcy just cant do that!

  6. “He deserves to lose his job” but should still be allowed to “spearhead” a rebuild?

    Firing the GM doesn’t change the direction of a team?

    He should be kept around because none of the players interact with him (which, how would you know)? If that’s the case then why does any team have a GM?

    Why would firing him during the season be useless? Because it’s not quote-unquote clean? Wouldn’t it give the Sabres a head-start on finding someone new?

    Just…what?

  7. You know this is lunacy, right? I mean, real, pure, unadulterated, poop-smelling lunacy….. Darcy should be fired absolutely immediately. As in, this very second. If your decisions are being made by someone who now has an extensive track record of failure, you’re in a bad spot. It’s that plain. If he makes bad decisions, and we know he has, then he should not be allowed to make one more decision. Not one. If he’s inept, and the general consensus is just that, he needs to be un-allowed to influence things any longer. Firing him now doesn’t change what happens on the ice tonight, but it does not allow him to make one more decision for you. This is an idea I love. This whole idea of “he win’s trades, let’s keep him” is so stupid, and so far gone, I can’t believe people even voice it. He got a first round for gaustad, but Miller and Vanek are here with their values dissipating daily. Vanek’s value at the deadline is a fraction of what it would have been if you gave another team a whole season before he joins the Wild. Same with Miller. Darcy won’t get maximal value for them, because the chance to do that flew out the window at the beginning of the season. He had the chance to trade real pieces, now all he has are rental pieces. With Darcy it’s not what he’s done, so much as what he fails to do. This is Darcy’s team. It is Darcy’s coach. IT’s worse than ever. This is worse than bankruptcy sabres. I know there aren’t many people defending him, but those that do need to stop. It’s hard to see that the sabres are on the right path, because there’s absolutely no proof whatsoever that they are on the right path.In fact, all of the evidence points to them NOT being on the right path. We have a lot of kids, sure, but these kids were chosen by the same guy that chose the dog of a team that got Lindy fired. I do not believe in these picks inherently, mostly because Darcy chose them, and Darcy makes bad decisions. Ugh. Lunacy.

  8. Firing him would allow someone else to draft for us next year. Look up Darcy’s draft record, it’s awful. Letting him pick another first round disaster next year just puts us farther in the hole.

    Examples of darcy 1st round picks

    Noronen
    Kalinin
    Heisten
    Kryukov
    Novotny
    Ballard
    Stafford
    Zagrapan
    Persson

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