'"This is a gamble for me, and I'm very nervous about it. It's very tough."'
Archives for June 2002
'"I've had a long friendship with Mike and I played with Joel in New Jersey and Colorado," Lever said Tuesday from Buffalo. "I've been here a long time and one of my long-term goals is to become a head coach. It was perceived that I wouldn't go anywhere, so I couldn't ask for a better situation. I decided to pursue it and it fell into place."'
'Lever, 50, began his coaching career as a Sabres assistant in 1987-88, served as head coach of the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans from 1990-92, and returned to Buffalo in 1992-93. Lever was a Sabres associate coach the past five seasons.'
'DuRoss, 51, has made previous attempts to buy NHL teams. He inquired about the Sabres before John Rigas bought the team from the Knox family in 1998. He also wanted to buy the Tampa Bay Lightning several years ago.'
'It may not sit well with the good people of Buffalo where Hasek spent the bulk of his career, but it's not like Hasek ran out on them. He gave them the best nine years of his career, a near-decade of goaltending excellence the likes of which the city has never seen and likely will never see again. He did have his chances to win there, but the franchise is one that is not set up to win. It was a franchise that hoped to ride his remarkable skills to a championship, not one that built around them.'
'It's being led by prominent Central New York businessman Frank DuRoss. DuRoss is the owner of the American Hockey League's Providence Bruins and the Rochester Rhino's. His group would only be interested in keeping the team in Buffalo and operating it at the HSBC Arena.'
But great goaltenders can, and have, helped lead good (not great) teams to the Stanley Cup. Hasek's Buffalo teams weren't even close to being great, but it wouldn't have been the biggest miracle of all time if he had led the Sabres to a Cup –- either against Dallas in 1999 ("HULL'S SKATE WAS IN THE CREASE!"), or otherwise.
'Which raises another intriguing question — why does Regier still have a job? As the team's top executive, if he didn't know about the financial chicanery going on between Adelphia, the Rigas family and the Sabres, then he's an idiot. If he did, then he's either an accomplice or completely bereft of a moral compass.'
'And, had Sabres GM Darcy Regier had his way, Buffalo would have broken into the top three spots of the draft in an attempt to draft left winger, Rick Nash. "Our scouts just really felt strong about him (Nash)," remarked Regier. "But even going into (Saturday) morning we thought we were in a position to take another run at him."'
'While Paille is considered a safe pick to one day play in the NHL, he does need to continue to improve in a couple of areas. "I like his game, but he needs to be more physical," one general manager said in the Hockey News' draft preview. "He is a guy who is supposed to be a power forward, but he did not get involved a lot for a guy who will be a power forward."'