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Letters / Our readers speak out

Golisano needs to own up

Now that the Buffalo Sabres again make no sense and fans pick up their heads only to see a world of confusion, I have one question: Is anybody going to own this thing?

We now know that Captain Clutch agreed to a four-year deal this past fall with Darcy Regier and then never was offered a contract. That doesn't sound like Darcy to me. When asked about this at the press conference, Darcy said that things changed. That doesn't make any sense! What changed? The fans in this town are some of the most loyal and persevering anywhere in the world, but we're not stupid. We need someone to own this thing.

Speaking of ownership, where was Golisano during the press conference? Mr. Golisano has been the hero of all heroes in Buffalo. He's a classy guy and a shrewd businessman and kept the Sabres where they belong. Darcy said that the Sabres wanted Drury long-term, but then he slapped Drury in the face by not producing the agreed contract this past fall? I don't think so.

Mr. Golisano, the fans in this town are not only loyal but we are forgiving. As the owner of our beloved Sabres, please come clean with us. We need to make some sense of this. Darcy and Larry Quinn faced the firing squad while being burned at the stake. Where were you?

Please address the fans and staff publicly and right this ship by taking ownership of both the ups and downs. We do not want to start thinking of our owner as a coward. You are our hero.

Tom Guttuso Jr.



Keep bad managers away from this team

The many mistakes the Sabres management have made over the last two seasons have been well documented. Their short-sighted thinking has been exposed and now they are getting their reward.

It's not surprising that another team made a bid on one of their restricted free agents. Until an offer was matched, talk about keeping players had been just that: talk. Credibility is needed with fans, players, and the hockey world in general. Those who have been involved in the blunders this team has made over the last two seasons should no longer have a say in anything to do with personnel, team logos, uniforms, and most importantly contracts.

While it's true this is a good, young, talented, competitive team, its core veteran leadership has been steadily lost due to a lack of foresight that you did not have to be a fortune teller to see coming. This whole mess has become bigger than any one player. It's now about what kind of pro sports team this is going to be.

The Drury-Briere era will be remembered much like the French Connection era and the Pat LaFontaine era. All of those eras were brief, but this one is shortest of all because of its mismanagement.

While the owner saved the team and he will be rightfully remembered for that, the question now is who will save this team from its management?

James Hall



Fans lose players they can root for

Watching Drury and Briere sign with the Rangers and Flyers is like having your ex-girlfriend marry the guy next door; you'll see her often, just not the way you wanted to.

With their departure, the Sabres lose not only a large part of their team offense, but more importantly, team leadership.

These were two guys that any other member of the team could follow because they didn't just say it, they practiced it. I will always remember Chris Drury for the Game Five play against the Senators when he took a shot in the netherlands, was knocked down and got back up to make a spectacular defensive stop. These were every day plays for him.

It would have been impossible for the Sabres to match Briere's contract with the Flyers, which was comparable to the GNP of a small South Pacific island. Drury, that's another story. If it is true that he could have had four years at $21.5 million, the Sabres blew it.

As for me, these guys brought me chills and thrills for their entire stay in Buffalo.

So fellows, I wished it would have been different but goodbye and so long, it's been good to know you.

Darrell A. Slisz

Clarence Center


Players victims of bad timing

No matter how you feel about former NFL players and their pension amounts, it all boils down to one simple thing. Timing is everything. Just like people years ago had to listen to a radio instead of being entertained for hours watching TV, or having to do their homework looking at books instead of having the modern luxury of the Internet, former players' pensions are based on then and not the current exorbitant salaries of today. Fair? No. But reality? Yes! How many of us are looked after by our unions after we retire? Current (and former, even more so) players should have pensions from another job shouldn't they? Most stop playing in their mid-30s and should have a 30-year pension from a "real" job. Do they expect to retire at 35 and not have to work for the rest of their lives? Current players, if they handle their money right, are in the position that they all should be comfortable for life when they leave the game still young.

I agree that it doesn't seem fair to former players but that's where timing comes in again. If they had been lucky enough to be born 20-30 years later with their talent they would have been set for life like today's athletes. But that shouldn't have prevented them from knowing back then that they had to work for another 30 years and earn a pension like everyone else because their sport didn't "set them up for life" by 35 like it does now. The only exception I could see is if players were hurt for life back then and couldn't work for the rest of their life because of permanent injury. Then, even though not obligated, the current union could step in and help them because of their disability. If former players are looking for fairness, welcome to the real world. It doesn't exist.

Salvatore Sicurella


Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing.

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