The Buffalo Sabres hosted a season-ending press conference at the First Niagara Center Monday, with team president Ted Black and still-general manager Darcy Regier holding court.
Sabres owner Terry Pegula again bypassed an opportunity to speak to media, as has been par for his tenure in Buffalo. As the press conference turned from discussion to circus, the focus turned to Pegula’s presence (or lack thereof) as the head of the franchise.
Black said Pegula has spoken to media when appropriate, which is highly debatable, and went on to say that Pegula doesn’t need to comment on day-to-day activity when he has people employed to do that for him. Black said Pegula hired him to run the business operations, so he will discuss those, and Pegula hired Regier to run the hockey operations, so Regier will talk about hockey.
To an extent, that makes sense. If Terry Pegula doesn’t want to talk to media, he doesn’t have to. It’s his team. He can do whatever he wants. The greatest part about being in charge of something is that no one tells you what to do. If you don’t feel like talking, you can hire people to do it for you. That’s America. So be it.
It becomes a problem when you want credit for being the leader. Pegula doesn’t have to talk about anything. But he should want to. It’s about pride. Pegula should be laying claim to what is his. He came out promising the world when he bought the team and people want to see the same level of commitment from him now. This is his team and we want him to want to speak for it.
Pegula certainly wants all the credit for doing good things — that’s when he seems to show up in public, when there’s good news to be announced — but doesn’t want to be bothered with the rest. Real leaders are there through thick and thin. If you don’t put your face on this while the team is bottoming out then don’t bother to stop by the victory parade either.
If this is what the dichotomy of the Sabres organization really looks like, with Regier and Black leading their respective halves, what does that leave for Terry Pegula? Is he simply a check writer? What else does he do for this team? Does anybody know? Please tell me if you do.
If an owner served his team no other function than being the First National Franchise Bank, that wouldn’t be the worst thing. But it’s a different standard when you come in promising your reason for existence will be to win a Stanley Cup.
Terry Pegula did everything in his power two years ago to make himself out to be different from the typical owner, though it looks increasingly as if that is not the case. He really doesn’t have to talk if he doesn’t want to. He just can’t have it both ways.
Pegula is free to run his team any way he likes. We just ask that he chooses a way and sticks with it. If he wants to be the greatest thing ever, there are plenty of chances to be in front of a microphone and take ownership of your product. And if you just want to stay in the background and write checks, that’s fine too. Just don’t half-ass it, Terry. We’ve suffered through 16 years of that.Follow @nickveronica