Darcy’s Inferno. Or: How I Stopped Worrying & Learned to Love Institutionalized Mediocrity.

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If there’s one upside to living in a city that absolutely refuses to sync its traffic lights it’s that the surplus 15 or so minutes you spend on your morning commute eye balling assorted Jesus Fish & OBX window clings can be used to reflect on the critical issues of the day.  There is only so much thought I can give to the Port of Hormuz and the slow painful death of the Euro before my eyes glaze over into cynical hopelessness.  Naturally, I prefer to contemplate a less stark & bloody form of hopelessness- Buffalo hopelessness! (that’s actually not a bad angle…I wonder if the tourism board ever considered ‘Buffalo: We’re Not the Gaza Strip!’ before “Buffalo; For Real”).

In any event, this morning let me marinate on the adorable little run of results that kind of, sort of  resembles watchable hockey at the foot of Washington Street.  Over the past several seasons my contempt for the hockey department (and Regier in particular) has transformed from apoplectic “nuke the arena from orbit!  it’s the only way to be sure!” rage to grumbling and almost gleeful schadenfreude seeing Darcy’s golden boys fall at every serious hurdle and challenge placed in front of them.  As satisfying as it might be to be to jump up and down and scream “I TOLD YOU SO! HA HA HA” like a 6 year old while wearing a goat head Drury sweater, it evokes TONS of self loathing remembering you’re projecting this onto something you’re supposed to…you know… love.

But those red hot and logic clouding emotions are starting to break into a bit of sunnier objectivity as Monday’s deadline draws nearer (yes, even with the swirling twitter rumors of a pre-July Gaustad extension; ugh).  It’s easy to lose sight that even with his many, many, many past indiscretions and mis-steps, it’s simply not fair to definitively judge Pegula-era Darcy based off of one summer of free agency.  The Regher/Leino/Ehrhoff free agent class has certainly been a flash point of contention this year in the city based off of overly high summertime expectations.  However, I’m still of the mind that the deals are very shrewd long term and each player will end up contributing significantly if they aren’t already.

It feels strange and borderline dirty to give Darcy that sort of slack after a long, dark winter anchoring the East and almost half a decade (!) of wandering in the desert of post co-captain uncertainty.  But on this Pegula day, I suppose that’s a product of the type of foreign, long term optimism that hasn’t rattled around this burg since Bethlehem & Republic Steel cheerfully poured a centuries worth of toxic sludge into the lake.  Here I sit – self proclaimed sworn enemy of Darth Quinn’s timid little lapdog, openly advocating for a bit more patience. 

Of course, Monday could come and go, late round draft picks could be swapped, water could be tread and many whiner line teeth may be gnashed.  I may very well come back here and bemoan Darcy’s smug (I’d like to imagine at least) confidence in his boys, his way and his team.  I may shout from my virtual rooftop that the Orchard Park disease has meandered its way through South Buffalo, across the Outer Harbor and firmly planted itself in Black & Pegula’s frontal lobe.  That all may be, but I sit here and write this not only for your (I hope) entertainment but also as a sober and preemptive reminder to myself on Monday evening that barring some unforseen disaster, in the end everything is going to turn out OK – with our without Darcy.  Optimism makes for strange bedfellows.

Lavish me with praise or spit at my feet in contempt on Twitter: @rjandolina

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