Nolan and LaFontaine

LaFontaine expects ‘nothing but their best efforts’ from Sabres


Safe to say it wasn’t just the losses the Sabres were piling up that led to today’s shakeup in Buffalo; it was the way they were losing, particularly on home ice in front of their faithful, #suffering paying customers.

“Hockey fans here in Buffalo, they’re smart,” said new president of hockey operations and former Sabres star, Pat LaFontaine. “Our job…we are in the entertainment business…we expect nothing but [the players’] best efforts every night.”

Even last night’s 3-2 shootout win over the Kings — the team’s first victory of the season at the First Niagara Center — saw the Sabres badly outplayed for most of the game, as evidenced by the 45-17 shot discrepancy in favor of the visitors.

“I wasn’t really too impressed with the game,” said new head coach Ted Nolan. “It wasn’t a very exciting game. I think people spend a lot of hard-earned money to come and watch. The least we can do is entertain them and give an effort.”

Simply put, the Sabres have been dominated by their opponents. They’ve got by far the worst shot discrepancy (-14.8), and when it comes to possession stats like Corsi and Fenwick, they rank dead last in those, too.

Some of that, to be fair, is due to the lack of talent on the roster. But if you could quantify effort, it’s a good bet they’d be down near the bottom in that as well.

Teuvo time: Teravainen to open with Toews, Hossa

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six
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Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.

Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.

Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.

The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.

It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.

Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.

That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.

“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”

‘Great story’ Janmark surprises, makes Dallas roster

Brian Elliott, Mattias Janmark-Nylen
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Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.

“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.

“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”

Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.

As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.

He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.

His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.

Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.