Sabres Clean House in Front Office.

The Buffalo Sabres have fired GM Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston, the hiring of Pat LaFontaine as president of hockey operations, and Ted Nolan as interim head coach.

Pat LaFontaine the new Sabres president of hockey operations.

Pat LaFontaine the new Sabres president of hockey operations.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s full scale panic time for Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula.  There’s no better way of putting this.  

Look, there’s no question Regier, after 17 seasons, had to go as GM. Rolston was clearly over his head as an NHL head coach. Hiring LaFontaine, he has about six weeks of front office experience with the New York Islanders, seems done more to appease the Sabres fans than anything which can improve how the Sabres are rebuilt.  

LaFontaine said he’ll be searching for Regier’s replacement. Hopefully he’ll land someone who can finally right this sinking ship.

Nolan is a good coach (former Adams winner in 19997) with a good reputation of working well with young players, but he also has a reputation for clashing with management, which might not make him the best fit for the Sabres at this volatile time. For now, at least, he’s behind the Sabres bench on an interim basis.  

 

15 Comments

  1. Good to see Ted back in the NHL. Wonder how he’ll do with this ‘new’ NHL.

  2. I was just talking about Nolan coming back and the Sabres returning to being “the hardest working team in the league”. My expectation is not that they win a lot more games, but that they are working and improving. I think both moves are what the Sabres needed. Thank you Terry!

  3. Somewhat expected but still amazing. I’m pulling for Ted Nolan but he’s been given an almost impossible task. Expectations have to be pretty low though so any progress will be a positive. We can expect a Ryan Miller ultimatum any day now.
    Does Pat Lafontaine have any connection with Brian Burke? Wouldn’t that spice things up in the Golden Horseshoe?

  4. I’ll give you a name who I believe would make a great candidate as a new coach for the Sabres. That would be Bob Boughner, currently coaching the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL. He is a former Sabres player (known to their fans as The Boogeyman) who has had an excellent coaching career in junior hockey. He has been named OHL and CHL Coach Of The Year twice and he has won 2 Memorial Cup championships. I think he would welcome the challenge!

  5. Totally disagree this is an all out panic time. Panic would have been hiring someone like Rolston or keeping a GM around who should have been fired years ago. Nolan has done a great job getting young teams to bond together. This is a perfect scenario for him plus he has cred because he coached before in the NHL. Patty has been involved in different capacities in mgmt since his retirement. So to call what happened today “Panic” is way off base.

  6. Prediction – Mark this down everyone…

    Rick Dudley will be named as the GM

    Craig Ramsay will become Head Coach or Assistant Coach depending on whether Ted Nolan remains as interim or becomes permanent.

  7. Ron,

    I would say he has been watching things pretty closely with his son playing in LA. The Sabres need some tough love and to regain their pride. I think Nolan could help with that.

  8. It is an exciting time for the Buffalo Sabres. I would like to see how quickly the team can rebound and the organization clean up many years of Regier’s mess. Leadership and direction are in place. Obtaining the personnel to bring in and retain players to win now and later is the next phase.

  9. Many of the concerns about Nolan are desperately over blown. The struggles he faced were 16 years ago. A lot can and has changed in the past 16 years.
    Nolan is a great addition.

  10. Not sure it is right to say it is panic time in Buffalo because of the firings. Look at it this way, you know Miller is going to be shopped hard at or before the deadline with picks involved. Same with Moulson. So tell me, do you want the team culture to change in Buffalo? Obviously cause it is just not working. So do you really want the architect of your team to be the guy who built the team into this spot? You want a new person to handle the trade and draft picks that will build your future. To be honest, Regier should have been fired before the Vanek trade to give the new GM as many trade chips to start the re-build with.

  11. Love the choice of Nolan as coach! About time Nolan got another shot!

    Expectations:
    1) youngsters develop confidence
    2) Miller is traded for some really good youngsters from Edmonton soon
    3) The team becomes hard-working and competitive
    4) Moulson has a good season and is re-signed, partly because he’s not a part of the old wave attitude

  12. Have been waiting for this for a very long time. Thanks Pegula!!!

  13. First of all, Darcy should not have been fired. He was a damned good GM. However I did question his choice of coach point blank, with no interviews of other candidates.

    Secondly, Lafontaine is a great addition to any hockey club. The guy is nothing but class and can only help the organization. Plus it’s good that he turned down the role of GM.

    Thirdly, I can’t get excited about having Ted Nolan back. Wasn’t one time enough? This guy sabotaged the team’s best player at the time (Hasek) with off-ice escapades and made it even worse by attempting to replace Muckler with his own buddy as GM.

    He has been blackballed in the NHL ever since, and with good reason. Let’s hope the label ‘interim’ means what it says. There are many candidates for the coaching job who can do it better.

    Finally, it’s tough to replace Darcy – and I don’t think we’ll find anyone with his amazing gift of creating one-sided trades – but if I had to choose someone, it would be Dudley. If Duds comes on board, let’s hope the first thing he does is get rid of Nolan.

  14. Long over due! Like years over due! It’s about time somebody get’s a shot to rebuild this team that has been made a mess of. Ruff should have never been fired. Rolston was a poor choice. Also good to see Nolan get another chance. LaFontaine was a PR move. Pegulla is trying to save face in the transition. Hopefully for the sake of the Sabers and their fans LaFontaine gets a good GM there.

  15. Lafontaine is a) familiar with Nolan since he was his coach at one time and b) they have remained in contact and c) knows that Nolan is the type of coach who will get the “room” back whereas Rolston had lost most of the veterans. Secondly, to say that Lafontaine or Nolan for that matter is a PR move is just asinine….Lafontaine is very intelligent and well respected. Pegula could have done much worse and I think both moves are a move in the right direction…while it remains to be seen if Nolan is the man for the future, he is surely the right man for the job right now….