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Volume 24 No. 158

Franchises

Sabres Owner Terry Pegula has "better things to do, but it would be nice if he emerged from the shadows and addressed the current state of his hockey team," according to Bucky Gleason of the BUFFALO NEWS. Pegula "hasn’t spoken publicly since the beginning of the season, making him the only Sabres fan who hasn’t offered his two cents about another season circling the drain." Then again, "what could he say that would soothe the masses at this stage?" In the past two years, Pegula has "lost credibility among many who believed in him." His "bold speech about winning the Stanley Cup within three years, once grounds for hope, has become a source of embarrassment." Sabres GM Darcy Regier has "turned his attention to the future." Gleason: "I’m sure he’ll convince Pegula & Co., that he has the answers moving forward even though his team has gone backward." Barring a "miracle, the Sabres will miss the playoffs for the second time in two full seasons under Pegula and the fourth time in six years overall." If the Sabres are "planning a major rebuild, the first step should be finding someone who knows how to construct a team." Regier "can’t be trusted to push them in the right direction." Many in the organization "lost faith in him long ago." Pegula should be "demanding nothing short of the best." But based on his "comments and rumblings around the organization, it doesn’t sound like Regier is going anywhere." This "mess falls largely on Regier, who spent more and won less." In essence, he was "given a Rolls Royce when Pegula took over the franchise and wrapped it around a tree." Gleason: "Not much will change in Buffalo until Pegula comes to his senses, fires Regier and gets good people around him" (BUFFALO NEWS, 4/3).

TIMING IS EVERYTHING: SPORTING NEWS' Jesse Spector wrote Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk's moves have "steadily become less impressive, culminating in" yesterday's trade of RW Jaromir Jagr to the Bruins. With the NHL trade deadline not until this afternoon, it is "curious that Nieuwendyk felt that this was the best he could do -- a deal that the Bruins did not even have to think twice about." The Stars always were a team "building for the future, and the point of bringing in" Jagr, C Derek Roy and LW Ray Whitney before this season was "to contend for the playoffs while waiting for prospects to come along -- and if it did not work, make the most of the chance to sell at the trade deadline." Having four picks in the first two rounds of the draft will "help further the future, but by failing to maximize the return for his top trade chip in Jagr, Nieuwendyk has sold the Stars short" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/2).

In a city that "needs revenue and where Wrigley property values are substantially high," the impression of objectivity is "out the window on every level when it comes to the Cubs,” according to Mike North of the Illinois DAILY HERALD. North, who wrote under the header, "Ricketts Holds The Cards To Wrigley's Future," added, "If I were [Cubs Chair] Tom Ricketts, I'd say quit holding my feet to the fire because I own the team." North wrote, "Sooner or later if you don't cut me some tax breaks so we can renovate. ... And if you keep aggravating me about the rooftop businesses … And if the mayor of Chicago keeps thinking I'm not going anywhere … well, then think again." North: "Then I would tell Cubs fans I am entertaining all offers, including Rosemont." Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel "thinks that because Tom Ricketts has plans to build a hotel on Clark and Addison he won't move the team." So give the Ricketts family "all the help they need because ... they are holding the cards" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 4/2). Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s David Kaplan said of meetings between reps of the Cubs and Emanuel, “At some point … Ricketts is going to have to say, ‘Enough! I have offered to pay for it, I’ve offered to let you guys try and pay for it, I’ve offered to do creative financing. You’ve shot them all down and you won't let me get a deal done.’ At some point doesn't he have to say, ‘Look, I'm going to meet with a number of suburbs, keeping the door open to Chicago, and let's figure out what makes sense.'" The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus said, “How much leverage does he really have? Does anybody really think in a million years they’re actually going to leave Wrigley Field. … There’s no real leverage” (“Sports Talk Live,” CSN Chicago, 4/2).