Pay the Debt

As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.

Socrates speaks the truth and gets a mouthful of poison, while the rest of us idiots get to guess what Derek Roy’s value is in the trade market. For false words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. Plato must have forgotten to jot down the part about useless tweets and endless hot air wasted on phone calls to Entercom, but whatever.

Thank the gods Darcy Regier had enough of the jibber jabber and dropped the hammer on Monday. Derek Roy, the former point per game talent who underperformed a season after a torn quadriceps injury forced him to miss four months of the 2010-11 campaign. Forget that Game 7 he played in despite his “muscles atrophied so badly that his left leg was half the size of his right.” Career-threatening injuries are quaint and all, but dude had to go.

The injury he never fully recovered from conspired with Roy’s frank unhappiness with the tongue-lashing the players got on the way out the door this year. Roy talked, fans balked and Darcy Regier made a phone call. Done deal.

The anger Derek Roy garnered among Sabres fans was one of the more interesting phenomena this most recent stretch of on-ice futility provided us. The excitement that came with Roy’s development as a prospect was eventually converted to frustration when he didn’t seize top line center responsibilities with the required gusto. There was something about Roy’s special form of bravado that just didn’t sit right with Sabres fans. It never did, and now it never will.

A bit of inconsistent play and an appearance on Deadspin gave Roy a reputation. It merely confirmed that reputation for some. He came to be be known for the Gongshow lifestyle that sells garrish graphic tees and the Youngblood mythology of being a hockey player. He never really had to explain himself and didn’t hide any of it.

But there is more to it than that. Roy is a symbol of the failures of The Core That Never Solidified. The fans that thought it was Tim Connolly quickly realized it was the injuries with that knucklehead. The ‘attitude,’ however, was squarely with No. 9. Something hadn’t been right with a talented group of players that never stepped out from behind the shadows of Briere and Drury. The Core was never ready to lead, and no one player distinguished themselves on the ice as the go-to guy. Roy did, however, manage to come out of it all with a target on his back.

Year One of the Terry Pegula Era was more of the same middling Sabres team, and the powers that be made it clear the coach and general manager were not the problem. It’s the players, dummy, especially the one that said the coach wasn’t helping the team get it’s shit together. I would rather die having spoken in my manner, than speak in your manner and live.

The tough guy narrative already established with a spare defenseman will only be reinforced by Ott’s reputation for grit. Being a “tougher team to play against” is the new lighter, faster, cheaper for this team. Save that talk for the waterfront, the Sabres are going mean and big.

And so Roy goes to play hockey down South while Sabres fans dream of a fall full of body checks and a decent enough faceoff percentage. Hockey is a game of actions and reactions, and moving Derek Roy is a reaction to many things. A cynical look at the team could tell you that Milan Lucic did more than blow up a Bobby Ryan trade when he ran Miller back in November. If that’s the case, good. This is a team worth dismantling. The pieces parts were not working, and the players are taking the blame. Something has to change.

The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows.

Roy is the change fans definitely wanted. Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff agreed, and everyone gets to be happy. The symbol for the Failed Core is gone. It means the New Core, whoever is left once the dust settles, is running out of excuses if it falters again. It was the players, they tell us, that made the mistakes and had to pay the price.

Regier didn’t forget to pay the debt.

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  1. By Center Even Bigger Question For Sabres After Roy/Ott Swap « Black & Blue & Gold July 3, 2012 at 7:11 AM

  2. By » DR^2 Hockey Rhetoric January 24, 2013 at 4:09 PM