Friday, February 4, 2011

Billionaire Tom deserves credit for saving the Sabres, not once but twice

I was among those critics who believed Tom Golisano occasionally made decisions about the Buffalo Sabres based on the bottom line rather than the roster. I still believe he and his management team were wrong in allowing both Chris Drury and Daniel Briere to go the free-agency route at a time when the Sabres were a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

But I’ll always be grateful to the Rochester-born-and-bred billionaire for coming to the rescue of the team in 2003 when it appeared the bankrupt Sabres were about to skate out of town. Golisano brought financial stability to the franchise and fielded a competitive team during his eight years as owner.

And his stature in Sabres history rose even more yesterday after his revelation that he sold the team to Terry Pegula for $70 million less than he could have received from the founder of BlackBerry because Pegula agreed to the clause that said he never would move the franchise.

So credit Golisano with saves even more dramatic than any made by legendary Sabres goalies Ryan Miller and Dominick Hasek.

I think everybody wins in this sale. Golisano and his minority partners were able to deal the NHL franchise for $189 million, over $100 mil more than their original purchase price. Pegula, a diehard Sabres fan, acquires a team he hopes to lead to its first Stanley Cup. And the fans get an owner, who is a Western New York native committed to spending more than his predecessor on the on-ice product.


It also was encouraging to hear Golisano say that he would be interested in purchasing the Bills if it were a situation where they might leave Buffalo after Ralph Wilson’s passing and subsequent sale of the team to the highest bidder.


Wouldn’t it be great if Wilson had a clause in his succession plan that the Bills can’t be moved out of our region?


My Super Bowl prediction (with the warning that betting on my prognostications can be hazardous to your wallet): Pittsburgh 27, Green Bay 23.


Huge win by the slumping Syracuse basketball team in Connecticut the other night. The Orange men have eight games remaining in the regular season: road contests vs. South Florida, Louisville, Villanova and Georgetown, and home games against Georgetown, West Virginia, Rutgers and DePaul. If they split those Big East games, they would finish 23-8 overall and 10-8 in the conference, which should secure an NCAA berth regardless how they do in the league’s tournament.


SU coach Jim Boeheim was justifying ticked by Internet rumors alleging a point-shaving scandal involving three of his players. Even more disturbing was the fact that a member of a news organization reported it as fact.

How a reputable reporter could link to a sleezy website and report rumors as fact is very upsetting to those of us who have made a career as journalists. You can’t believe everything you read on blogs (except this one, of course. ;-)

The Internet can be a great resource of information. But it must be remembered that it is an unfiltered resource, and contains much misinformation. And at its worst can be a cesspool of rumor and innuendo.


The Yankees Core Four is now a Core Three with the announcement of Andy Pettitte's retirement. The lefty with the best pickoff move I've ever witnessed finishes hist career with a 240-138 record and a record 19 victories in the post-season.

Is he a Hall-of-Famer? I'm not sure.

It's going to be interesting to see if his image and his Cooperstown chances take a hit this year when the court case involving Roger Clemens' use of the human growth hormone is finally heard. You might remember that Pettitte testified that he used HGH briefly and said that his former teammate and workout partner, Clemens, did, too.

From the Yankees 2011 season perspective, Pettitte's retirement is a huge blow. They were hoping that he would at least be available for the second half of the season. They're still trying to determine who can be reliable starters behind C.C. Sabbathia and Phil Hughes.


I know Syracuse's recruiting class was highly-rated by the so-called recruiting experts, but there were three things I liked about it: a) every recruit was the captain of his high school, prep school and/or junior college team; b) the athleticism, speed and versatility of the incoming players, and c) the reestablishment of SU as a player in its home state.


Please check out my daily Super Bowl and weekly Syracuse basketball columns at Channel 8's website:


SU Helmethead... said...

Loved the SU football class too. A couple wishes for next year
1) I'd love to see a 4 or 5 star recruit on the list
2) We need a QB. Seriously, who's the best QB we've had since McNabb? Troy Nunes?

Thats my story and I'm stickin to it

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Pettitte's decision to retire was made easier after seeing how disrespectful the Yankees were to Jeter during their negotiations.
Meet the new boss - same as the old boss.