Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pegula Day

I've held off and held off on writing an entry on Pegula's press conference for a few reasons.  The first is that I didn't and don't want to simply write what everyone else is writing about it.  That's boring.  Also, I wasn't sure what angle I wanted to take on it, but I'm pretty sure now.

I'll be honest, I expected the conference to basically be a formality, that the media would ask some stupid questions and that Pegula would largely evade them and that the whole ordeal would be a pleasant introduction to Pegula, but largely a waste of everyone's time.  I was pretty much blown away.  From Pegula choking up and calling Perreault his hero to making it very obvious that he's willing to sink whatever amount of money into the team that it takes to win, it was amazing across the boards.

It's that second part that really gets to me because let's be honest, Terry Pegula is never going to win the Buffalo Sabres a cup.  Owners don't win cups, at least not directly.  They don't score goals, they don't sign players and the don't make draft picks.  It's great that Terry Pegula is a fan, yes, but what's better is that he's a smart fan.  After all, we don't want to be stuck with the NHL's version of Daniel Snyder whose oversized gonads and unstoppable ego have crippled the Washington Redskins.  There were two things in yesterday's press conference that I thought were really important.  The first is obvious, that Pegula is willing to sink money into the team in whatever way is necessary to make it better.  As much as Tom Golisano wanted to treat the Sabres like one, sports teams are not a business, and they never will be.  They're a hobby, and you don't concern yourself with making money through your hobbies.

The second was not quite so obvious and so emphatically stated by Pegula.  That he is committed to getting intelligent people in place to run the team, and humble enough to let them make their own decisions.  I really liked the approach he took in evaluating Regier and Ruff and in making judgments about their future with the Sabres.  It shows that he understands his role as an owner and is committed to getting the best people in place to make the hockey decisions.  That's where a lot of owners fail, I think.  We probably have an example of one just to the south in Ralph Wilson who has (been rumored to have) passed on several superior coaching candidates to bring in a series of lame-ducks that are agreeable to him.

Passion means absolutely nothing when it comes to owning a hockey team.  There are thousands of fans in Buffalo who are passionate and would be terrible owners, but people act like it's some magical attribute that automatically puts him on a pedestal.  I think Pegula understand this, and I think it's probably his best quality.  It will be evident should the time come when he has to make a decision that he doesn't want to make, but pulls the trigger anyways because it's a decision the team needs him to make.

I love Pegula and he floored me with yesterday's presser.  To see someone tear up at the history of the team the same way I do is equal parts refreshing and inspiring as were his candor and honesty.  That might be the best name to grace the back of a Sabres jersey since the likes of Hasek and Perreault, but as always, the name on the front...well...I'm sure he understands.

1 comment:

  1. I thought a lot of people would be turned off by him tearing up about Perreault, but that was a HUGE deal to me. I started crying myself watching that. You can tell how passionate and sincere the guy is and now all of us know the team is in good hands. I'm excited for the future.