You wouldn’t have been out of bounds if you had wondered, after the first half of the National Hockey League season, if Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula was going to ask for a refund.
After all, $189 million isn’t supposed to buy you last place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Isn’t supposed to buy you 20-24-5. Isn’t supposed to buy you a 12-game road losing streak. Isn’t supposed to buy you howls from the faithful at the First Niagara Center calling for the heads of coach Lindy Ruff or GM Darcy Regier or trades of Ryan Miller, Derek Roy or Drew Stafford …
Yet at the All-Star break that’s exactly where Pegula found his newly-minted hockey toy.
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So, we all know that money can’t buy love, right?
What about a Stanley Cup?
Turns out that’s the million-dollar, well make that the $64 million, … awww, what the hell – make that the $189 million question they’ve been asking about the struggling Buffalo Sabres since the start of the NHL season.
OK, “struggling” is sort of a misrepresentation. Sort of. At 12-8-0, the Sabres are still tied atop the NHL’s Northeast Division with the Boston Bruins (whom they will face in an epic rematch Wednesday night) and fifth in the Eastern Conference.
As more and more facts arose last week from the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, those words kept reverberating through my mind.
How could a monster like Jerry Sandusky be allowed to prey on some of the weakest and most vulnerable in our society in the middle of an institution of higher learning? How could a graduate assistant coach not intervene and simply leave the scene of such a galling crime? How could a administrative structure and culture of silence – “Omerta”-like in its nature – exist in a major university which in turn allowed them to cover up such heinous behavior?
And how could someone like Joe Paterno – previously recognized as a paragon of virtue in the all-too-often un-virtuous world of intercollegiate athletics – essentially turn a blind eye to the point of complicity of his former assistant coach’s behavior?
And yet, sadly, I’d heard it all before. Read the rest of this entry »