I don’t know about you, but hasn’t the Buffalo Sabres offseason kind of resembled, well, last year’s offseason? You know, they lose a couple and then they sign a couple of players at a lower cost. Yes, I know, it’s still very early in offseason proceedings, so things can always change.
However, what seems to never change is the hell bent resentment from bloggers towards TBN and Bucky Gleason. Gees, if I didn’t know Darcy Regier was the GM of the Buffalo Sabres, I would have assumed that judging by the tweets, Gleason was the judge, juror and executioner for Derek Roy and Tim Connolly still being on this team.
Bucky was getting criticism for two of his most recent columns. The first one came a day after free agency started, when he criticised the Sabres for only signing Jordan Leopold and not being aggressive enough in the trade market, like Atlanta and Boston did a week earlier. Frankly, I really don’t have a problem with his opinion on those matters. He was right, Chicago was ripe for the pickings and the Sabres had prospects and picks to try and make a deal.
This isn’t the first offseason that passivity and the Sabres have been mentioned in the same sentence. Yes, I know what the Bucky haters will say, “Well, you don’t know if the Sabres called and what the Hawks wanted.” You’re right, I don’t, but other teams in the NHL were keeping busy and getting better, while the Sabres were doing their standard tweaking.
Look, I know apologists will play the whole “It’s still early” rhetoric, but teams for the most part get better from the start of the NHL Draft to the week after free agency begins (Unless, you’re Kovalchuk trying to be LeBron James). Personally, I think bloggers and apologists are so hell bent on proving that Darcy Regier’s “system” works that shooting the messenger that views it any differently is the cool thing to do. Bucky is that messenger.
The 2nd column that Bucky got criticism for was due to his reasoning on why expansion in the NHL was working on a financial basis. Bucky mentioned that the cap was going up because it is directly tied to the league’s revenue. That maybe true, but Bucky didn’t mention about the players’ union electing to approve a 5% inflator (Whatever the f#$k that means) to increase the cap.
Now, I don’t own a Collective Bargaining Agreement like some of the bloggers do ;)…but I do kind of think that if revenue wasn’t going up, the Union couldn’t just get up and say “Yeah, you know, let’s raise the cap because we have some inflator clause in it.” Now, bear in mind, this is the NHL Union and they have absolutely no balls. Hell, they have gone through more union leaders than the Sabres have gone through jerseys.
In other words, the union has to receive permission from Gary Bettman on whether they can wipe their ass or cross the street. Something tells me that if the NHL didn’t make money this season, the salary cap wouldn’t be going up.
Now in the interest of fairness to whether Bucky left out an important part of the story, I decided to google “The NHL cap goes up in 2010” to see what other hockey publications came up with it. Some sites like Prohockeytalk.com only mentioned revenue going up as the reason for the cap increase, while TSN mentioned the players union approving the inflator. I guess the final verdict is that Bucky should have mentioned the 5% inflator. However, it wasn’t like he reported that Rob Johnson was getting cut over Doug Flutie like WGR announced years ago.
Now, here’s what I want YOU to take away from this post. I think that Bucky is in a position that whatever he writes about, the blogger community are hell bent on killing him for it. How do I know? Well, Bucky at times this year has had some of the same opinions as the bloggers have had about the Sabres. He has mentioned countless times that the Sabres nucleus was being produced in Portland. You know, believing in “The System.” He’s mentioned why Ryan Miller and Mike Grier are awesome. He’s spoken to the 10th degree about his love for Lindy Ruff. He even mentioned how the Sabres needed to change some of the top six forwards, which I think all of us are in agreement on.
I’ve not seen one Sabres blog mention that Bucky feels the same way as the writer does on any of those subjects that I’ve mentioned. Considering that most bloggers hate Bucky because he just spues off negativity, don’t you think you are kind of doing the same thing in constantly writing negative things about him? Keep in mind, I just mentioned some positive things that he has written about. Sorry, but it can’t just be a firing squad every time the guy writes a column.
Hell, I’ll even go a step further and say that if Bucky got in a room with all the bloggers, everyone would walk away with the same opinion about the Sabres (I’m sure alcohol or illegal contrabands would have to be involved in some sort of capacity to increase the peace between both parties)
However, here’s where the problem exists; It’s the way the message is being sent by Bucky. He acts like a judge sentencing the Sabres to death without the possibility of parole. He’s a dick, he’s ruthless and more importantly, he is trashing someone that you truly love, your kids…your Sabres. Sometimes parents don’t like it when anyone talks junk about their kids. Even if the kids are brats and disappointments, it’s hard to hear someone just state cold, hard facts against them.
Now, if you were to pick two key moments of the evolution on why Bucky is hated; it’s the column he had on Buffalo fans supporting loser teams and Bucky’s negative agenda against the Sabres.
Lets tackle the first one. In a nut shell, last summer, Bucky wrote a column about how the fans were constantly supporting a losing team and that in his day (childhood in Buffalo), the fan base wouldn’t be showing up night after night in supporting a franchise that was missing playoffs. Now, he did sound like a dick in stating that, but the bottom line for me is that he used an example of why he felt that way and in doing so, he supported his opinion.
Plus, he’s absolutely right. I lived through the 90’s as a kid and both franchises were pretty successful, yet, when they went through a losing year, fans didn’t turn out. Check out the Bills attendance during their 7-9 year in 1994. Better yet, see how Ted Nolan’s first year with the club worked out for the turnstiles at the Aud.
Frankly, the way I viewed the article, I thought Bucky was trying to tell the fans that if you keep supporting a team in which their financial bottom line is the most important issue for them, then what makes you think they are going to change the makeup of the team? Now, he could have mentioned that sports have grown so much over the last 20 years that they have become as common place as going to the movies or out to dinner. You know, people like to be entertained and hockey can be that avenue. Maybe that line of reasoning would have softened the blow.
Now as far as people thinking that Bucky has a grudge against the Sabres, well, this wouldn’t be the first or last time a reporter will be accused of this. I’ve mentioned it a bunch of times on this blog about some in the media having a vendetta against an organization or athlete because of a fallout. I’m sure we all know that TBN aren’t going to be endorsing Tom Golisano’s bid for Governor and that the Sabres won’t be sending the news room chocolate covered hockey pucks for Christmas any time soon. In short: These two entities just don’t really care for each other.
Now, because of that, people believe that Gleason is writing articles that are biased towards the organiz
ation. I’ll say this and you will all probably think I’m just trying to get in the good graces of getting my question answered first in Bucky’s chat or having Jerry Sullivan buy me a beer at Wellington Pub. I assure you, I’m not and I already regret spending so much time on this subject.
I just don’t think Bucky is being biased. How do I base that? Simply, when the entire fan base was in frenzy after the Sabres got knocked out of the playoffs against the Bruins, even the apologists and bloggers were up in arms about the performance. Did Bucky kill Regier the next day in the papers? Not at all. Actually, his day after story was pretty positive, more so than what bloggers wrote about.
Now, if that doesn’t convince you, what about Patrick Kane? You see, before the sh#t hit the fan with TBN and the Sabres, both parties got along rather nicely. Bucky and Sully use to write nice stories about Tom Golisano and there were hardly any negative words published between 2005 and 2007 about the team. Things of course change after the front office totally screwed over the fan base and the team by messing up the Drury and Briere contracts.
Sorry, but I know most bloggers and apologists have wanted The News to get over fiasco the day it happened. However, when your team hasn’t even come close to accomplishing the goals that those two teams did after the lockout, then you have a right to extend the venting.
Anyways, back to Kane for a moment. From the start of his playing days in South Buffalo to being drafted by the Blackhawks, Bucky has pretty much been the go to guy on the subject of Kane. He has written a number of columns that have kissed the ass of the pride of South Buffalo. I think it’s safe to say that Bucky could easily pick-up the phone and get an interview with Kane, his dad, Turtle, Drama and the rest of his stupid little entourage.
Unfortunately, Kane had a little run-in with a cab driver last summer and guess who drew the assignment of covering the incident? Bucky. And guess what? He didn’t write a column saying that Kane is still young and we all make mistakes. Instead, he went after him and chastised the player for being a stupid drunk.
Fast forward to Game six of the Stanley Cup Finals with Kane scoring the game-winning goal in overtime, clinching the title for Chicago. TBN decided to send Bucky to cover the festivities and I’m sure he thought he would get an exclusive interview with Kane about being a champion from Buffalo. By all accounts, Kane and his daddy were totally pissed off at the way the South Buffalonian was treated during his arrest and decided to say “no comment” (Putting it lightly) to Bucky.
Gone were the quotes about being a hometown hero and what it meant to bring the Cup back to Buffalo. Pretty much, it became a wasted trip to the Stanley Cup Finals for TBN. Did Kane’s standing up effect the way Bucky wrote the story? Hell, no. It was actually a really nice piece about Kane and his roots in Buffalo.
Now, I know you might be thinking that I’m totally kissing Bucky’s ass, maybe I am (Not literally), but he didn’t go on his chats afterwards and crap on Kane. He didn’t hand off the assignment to someone else when it came time to possibly jeopardize his relationship with Kane after the cabie incident. He just did his job. (OK, now I’m kissing his butt way too much and I’m sorry. Dam it, why did I even start writing this?)
Maybe the biggest difference is that Kane has only made one major mistake, while the Sabres have made plenty of others in the last three years. A-ha, that’s it. Maybe the Sabres should just stop doing the following:
1)Having offseasons where the team only makes marginal moves.
2) Overpaying their own players.
3) Making dreaded deadline deals.
4) Having an absentee owner that only cares about making a profit. (I could go on, but that’s for another day)
Then maybe, just maybe, Bucky Gleason won’t be so hard on you.
Bottom line: I don’t think Bucky is as bad as most people have made him out to be. If he was as bad as everyone said he was, then he probably would have been fired by now. If you have a personal vendetta against him and TBN, I just don’t think it should be a weekly firing line whenever he writes a column.
I don’t like Mike Schopp or the people at WGR because of the way they shove stupid topics about cheese, the Bachelor and actor drafts down my throat. Hell, I don’t even think they watch sports at that station. The way the hosts go about researching sports topics, makes TBN seem like the Library of Congress. However, I would still give them credit if they came up with any sort of opinion that I valued. I gave Schopp props for holding Regier’s feet to the fire about deadline deals. I don’t know, I just kind of doubt that bloggers would do the same for Bucky.
In closing, sure, I gave this subject matter waaaaaaaaaay too much time and probably will be viewed as a Gleason apologist. I’m not, but something snapped in me when I read about 30 tweets killing Bucky for thinking the Sabres haven’t done enough this offseason. Frankly, I’m probably venting more because the Sabres haven’t really done much this offseason and Bucky seems to be burnt toast of the town. Sorry, but I kind of think it should be the other way around. I’ll probably lose some followers on twitter and gain some heat.
PS: I still love all you apologists and bloggers.
PS II: Of course, every blogger has a right to write whatever they want.
PS III: I’m really not a ass kisser.