If the NHL, as expected, begins yet another work stoppage this weekend, there could be a lot of bitter people. Players will be upset with the league's owners for depriving them of their livelihood. Owners could be ticked at players for refusing to give in to the league's demands.
Terry Pegula figures the anger would soon subside and his Buffalo Sabres would return to being one big, happy family.
The NHL and its players' association moved one day closer to a lockout Monday. No formal negotiations were held for a new collective bargaining agreement. The current one is set to expire at midnight Saturday, leaving the sides with only a handful of days to find common ground.
The Sabres, meanwhile, continued to play nice. The team's foundation held its annual golf tournament with players and management taking part. Pegula says the two sides, who would be barred from contact during a lockout, would keep their bond if the NHL shuts its doors on the players.
"That's just a temporary thing," Pegula said Monday. "We all know that. If anything happens, there will be no lasting effect after."
The Sabres' owner, who joined Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown outside First Niagara Center to discuss his $123 million development plan for the Webster Block, had little else to say about the potential lockout or state of CBA negotiations. The league is reportedly set to deliver $1 million fines to team employees who comment, and Pegula hinted other penalties are in place.
"I can't tell you anything, just that talks continue," Pegula said. "I don't want to lose draft picks."
Pegula remained optimistic a lockout can be avoided.
"Obviously, we all want to see some hockey played, so let's hope it doesn't happen and be positive on it," he said.
Pegula purchased the Sabres in February 2011. He has enjoyed just one full season as an owner, and he's already about to see his sport shut down.
"I guess that's part of the risk, huh?" Pegula said.
The Calgary Flames announced recently they plan to cut the salary of team employees when the lockout commences. Pegula said the Sabres have not discussed their employees' wages, which were trimmed during the 2004-05 lockout by previous ownership.
While Pegula trumpeted the HARBORcenter project, which is set to include two ice rinks, retail space, a hotel and parking ramp, Sabres President Ted Black added that Canisius College and the Buffalo Junior Sabres could be possible tenants in the new building downtown.
In addition to hockey, Pegula weighed in on two football teams. He was asked yet again about pursuing the Buffalo Bills.
"I've said many times, the Bills have an owner and I don't have a printing press," he said.
Pegula also continues to check in with Penn State, his alma mater, which is trying to recover from a child molestation scandal. The Nittany Lions are 0-2 under new coach Bill O'Brien.
"When you're close to the situation down there, it's very heavy on all the individuals involved," Pegula said. "One thing I can tell you is we have one hell of a football coach that we hired. He is just standing tall. I think a lot of people are very proud of him. I know his players are.
"It's a tough situation. As you know, it's still ongoing. There's a lot of issues to be settled in the courts."