Buffalo Sabres president Ted Black announced that general manager Darcy Regier will retain his role to begin the 2013-14 season during a heated press conference on Monday afternoon.
With the Sabres missing the playoffs for the second time in as many seasons, the tandem of Black and Regier faced an intense line of questioning that voiced the concerns about the state of the franchise. With an announcement on Fan Appreciation Day that ticket prices would be raised four percent because of the new collective bargaining agreement (which was supposed to lower prices), Black was pushed for an explanation.
Stating the team needed to raise ticket prices in order to qualify for revenue sharing, some of the Buffalo media questioned why owner Terry Pegula was interested in such a course of action when he previously stated he purchased the team to win, not make money. Black stated his job was to secure the future of the franchise and he couldn't operate under the assumption that Pegula would own the team forever.
This issue led to an extended period of intense questioning, which pushed for Pegula to speak to the media himself.
In terms of daily hockey operations, the press conference continued in the same direction.
Pegula previously projected the team would be contending for the Stanley Cup in his third season as owner. With next season marking his third year, the Sabres are no closer to the goal. By all accounts, Buffalo is actually heading in the opposite direction, and toward an extended rebuilding process.
Regier appears to be at the head of this change, at least through this offseason and the start of next season. He repeatedly stated the Stanley Cup is the franchise's only goal. The organization is not interested in just making the playoffs. They want to win the Cup.
In terms of the direction the team is going, it sounds as though they plan to develop through the draft. Black has previously stated this is the route they hope to take and Regier eluded to it by stating there might be some "suffering" along the way.
When discussing the futures of Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek, Regier stated he could trade both, trade one or sign both. He has met with each player and is waiting for the market to dictate their value before making any decisions. If they are to move, it seems as though it will be prior to the NHL Draft.
Realistically, it sounds like Buffalo is a ways away from contention. While the Stanley Cup is continually referenced as their sole incentive, there are 29 other teams who also have that same motivation. The Sabres focused on a quick rush to the cup and ultimately failed to do so. Now, they face the uphill climb of starting from scratch.