Buffalo surprise? GM Darcy Regier reportedly given two-year contract extension in the fall

With lots of off-ice news going on in Buffalo concerning the potential announcement of Terry Pegula as the new Sabres owner coming this Thursday, there’s another bit of breaking news that managed to go unannounced as well.

The Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington breaks the story that Sabres GM Darcy Regier was apparently signed to a two-year extension back in the fall worth between $2 and $2.5 million.

This is surprising on a few levels because the Sabres have struggled this year and Regier’s contract was set to expire at the end of the season. With how the team has underperformed and the lack of major upgrades made to the team, the possibility existed that Regier wouldn’t be brought back.

The other side of this is that it was current Sabres owner Tom Golisano who signed Regier to the extension. Harrington gets the wink-and-nod truth of the matter.

Asked by The News Monday if Regier has been given an extension, managing partner Larry Quinn did not confirm — or deny — the move.

“I’m not going to confirm that today,” was all Quinn would say.

As is the case with new owners, they sometimes want to get their own people into executive positions to run the team the way they’re looking for it to be done. Golisano giving Regier an extension while he was openly looking to sell the team seems quite bizarre. Making matters worse for Sabres fans, they’re not happy at all with the job Regier has done of late and the fans are looking for someone to pay for the team coming up small so far this season. Giving new owner Pegula a new contract to potentially have to eat seems like a reckless and rather jerky move.

After all, signing a team executive to an extension like that and not announcing it to the public seems very questionable as it is. These sorts of things aren’t really the kinds of things you can keep a lid on for so long. Everything of late surrounding this potential Buffalo sale to Pegula has been wrought with strange happenings and seemingly foolish delays in getting things all put together. Adding a twist like this certainly makes for good theater and for a team that’s as hot and cold as the Sabres, giving the fans a soap opera to follow like this in such a tenuous time seems like a bad idea.

 

Bolts close gap on struggling Bruins in playoff race

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Well, that was quite a third period.

For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.

Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.

The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.

Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.

And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.

Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)

The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.

Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.

From NHL.com:

The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.

The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.

Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.