In the 11 years or so I've been living in NYC, I've been out of work for probably 3 years of it. Now while that may seem like a story the next NYS governer could exploit in a campagin ("Joe P. has years of experience and a college degree, but can't hold onto a NYS job because of the aristocrats in Parliament..."), that is just the nature of the TV business.
TV freelance is a bitch. Don't get into it. By all means, DON'T GET INTO IT! The months out of work can add up and then subtract from your back account quickly. I'd have to live off of $400 a week from NYS and about 80% of it would go to my rent, leaving me with very little money to spend.
However, if there's one thing I'm good at, it is stretching my money when I'm on a strict budget. The thought of being homeless without a job has something to do with it. I have my spending mapped out to a "T.". I know exactly where that $1600 will go for the month and how much I'll have to spend from my savings on food or even two seconds worth of a social life.
I'd normally spend 25 bucks on a sandwich and beer at the bar on Sundays to watch the Bills, my socialite moment of the week. The rest of my life would resemble that of a mobster on the lam after getting tipped that the cops were after him. He'd have no choice but to move to some shack in Elvis country and having to make whatever money he got out of his safe underneath the oven last for a long time. Lots of a Chef Boyardee and crackers.
It sucks, frankly. You can't do anything. You see a bunch of friends on either Facebook or at your old offices, having the time of their life while you are waiting for a job. You can't go out. You become a hermit. It becomes kind of a slooooooooooow death. But that's the point...the slow part was the best part because it was about surviving.
However, my savings would never go down too bad as long as I had that unemployment check coming in. I'd make it last and would never have to borrow money from my parents or banks. I was responsible.
Then, I get a job..and boy, I act like I was P. Diddy in a rap video.
I spend way more money on booze. Good booze, none of that domestic crap. I buy new clothes that I didn't need. I buy Game of the Thrones stuff. Hey, why not buy a GoT hoodie for 50 bucks because I only have about 7 other hoodies? I buy multiple rounds of drinks without getting buy backs. I just buy stuff that I have no business buying. It is poor impulse control.
Next thing you know, those savings are going down faster than when I was on a tight budget and unemployed. I don't know what to do with the money except spend it. I've been working for 8 months straight and I haven't saved a dime. It has come in and gone right back out. I just think certain people handle getting loads of money than others. It also doesn't help that you went from starving for months to shooting straight to the top because of your new funds coming in.
That's where Darcy Regier and I are alike.
He's just not good with too much money and it has been proven time and time again since Terry Pegula gave him his checkbook and carte blanche.
As much as I don't like Darcy, there is a part of me that feels he was dealing from a short deck when Golisano and Quinn were here counting pennies out for him. I've said that tons of times on this blog and on Twitter. I blame ownership for letting the likes of Chris Drury, Daniel Briere and Brian Campbell leave. I mean, they were cheap to the extreme. Remember all those non-HD road games with the other team's announcers? Pathetic.
If you filled me with a few cocktails, I'd even say that other GMs in the NHL would have had trouble doing a good enough job under those fools. However, it was something Darcy became used to. He never had an owner that didn't care about money. He stretched a dollar as far as it could go because he was adapting to survive.
When you look back, were the Roy, Miller, Vanek, and Pominville contracts that bad? I don't think so. Frankly, they were market value and in some cases, players outperformed them and they turned out to be a decent value.
You think Darcy wanted Tim Connolly as his #2 center? Please. He had no choice because the bozos in charge wouldn't let him spend money. It isn't a surprise that Connolly was sent packing once Pegula took over. Darcy finally had a budget that included signing bonuses and free agents.
And those signing bonuses are part of the reason why we are in trouble today.
Take Tyler Myers.
Now, this is in hindsight, but what was the point of getting to the bargaining table so quickly with him after he had a subpar 2nd season and a year remaining on his rookie deal? To avoid a Thomas Vanek offer sheet, right? But there is one difference: Myers was coming off an average sophomore year. Thomas Vanek was not.
If the Sabres had waited just a few months into the regular season, they'd have seen that Myers wasn't worth the money they offered him. Instead, Darcy finally got that money to blow and was excited about doing it. It became overkill because he was allowed to do this.
How about Leino?
Darcy just decided to overpay the guy because he could. He didn't think rationally about the cap or the fact that he had never played center before or that Leino had had pretty much one decent playoff run and season. He just said, "Fuck it! I've never had this much money before! Let's spend it!"
I'm guilty as well. I didn't care about the cap situation or examining whether these guys were worth it or not. I wanted them to spend as much money as humanly possible because we were so deprived for so many years on July 1st. It goes back to my original point. Some people just don't react well when money starts flowing in.
Those players are just two examples. We could also talk about Drew Stafford, Cody McCormick, Nathan Gerbe, and maybe even Andrej Sekera. Darcy's just been terrible with extensions and free agents. (The one obvious exception is Christian Ehrhoff.) Maybe Darcy was better off in a hockey world with a smaller budget, where just surviving was a success.
The bottom line is that the team hasn't gotten better with an increased budget and a moneybags owner. Darcy might just be learning that Biggie was right: The more money we come across, the more problems we see. Mo' money, mo' problems.