Tag: Pat Lafontaine

Ted Nolan

Interim no more: Sabres name Ted Nolan head coach


This time around, Ted Nolan isn’t going anywhere.

The Buffalo Sabres announced they’ve dropped the interim tag and signed Nolan to be the official head coach of the team.

“We are very happy to get this deal done and have Ted Nolan as our permanent head coach going forward,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said. “Teddy has proven time and again that he is an exceptional leader, motivator and teacher. He is exactly what we need in a head coach for our hockey team and we’re confident in his ability to guide our players and turn this team around.”

It’s reported Nolan signed a three-year extension with the team and that puts him in charge of the rebuild in Buffalo.

With the number of young guys that will be coming up through the Sabres system in the coming years (Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, and more) and the likelihood they could be adding Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, or Aaron Ekblad in the 2014 draft, having a guy in Nolan who has as much experience coaching juniors as he does will help.

Nolan took over for Ron Rolston on Nov. 13. After the Sabres started 4-15-1 under Rolston, they’ve gone 16-30-8 under Nolan and, in spite of numerous changes to the roster, have played more competently under Nolan.

There was doubt as to whether or not Nolan would want to stay in Buffalo after what happened when Pat LaFontaine resigned from the team, but after landing this opportunity to coach again in the NHL, it would’ve been tough to walk away.

Sabres address LaFontaine resignation, ready to move forward

Tim Murray, Pat LaFontaine

BUFFALO — Buffalo Sabres president Ted Black and general manager Tim Murray addressed the media about Pat LaFontaine’s sudden resignation from the organization.

After just over three months on the job, LaFontaine left the Sabres to return to the NHL where he was the vice president of hockey development.

“I found out a few days ago [about LaFontaine leaving],” Black said. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to be announced or when.”

The “when” was answered on Saturday night.

Black said he knows it doesn’t look good from the outside for the team.

“It’s a lot for our fans to swallow in a short amount of time,” Black said. “The franchise goalie is traded, the former player hall of famer that was the president of hockey operations resigns. So it creates this same reaction you measure from your readers and from Twitter. It creates uncertainty. It’s something that fans are going to be upset by.”

With rumors of discord amongst members of the front office, both Black and Murray made it clear it was LaFontaine’s decision to resign and that he wasn’t fired. Of course, the timing of his departure came a day after the team traded superstar goalie Ryan Miller and team captain Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues.

Front office shakeups after a trade are always going to get noticed, but Murray said he and LaFontaine worked together.

“We were on the same page,” Murray said. “I was brought in here for the rebuild and we were on the same page with that. I’ve been here for six weeks and probably on the road for four of those scouting. Every phone call I got concerning trades was relayed to Pat. There was never any indication that we weren’t on the same page.”

Given the timing of when LaFontaine said he wanted to leave, Murray said the former Sabres legend wasn’t consulted about the Miller deal.

Now the Sabres will have to put this distraction to bed as the trade deadline approaches on Wednesday and they have numerous players drawing interest around the league.

“For me it’s just about the hockey and it’s about continuing to talk trade, it’s about continuing to get ready for the draft, it’s about continuing to evaluate the hockey staff,” Murray said. “I just have to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Reports: Sabres having front office problems

Pat LaFontaine, Terry Pegula

There’s never a dull moment in Buffalo, even in the middle of a terrible season.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie and CBC Sports’ Elliotte Friedman have reported there is a problem amongst the Sabres front office, and the bulk of the attention centers around team President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine.

Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News points out LaFontaine was scheduled to appear at a team function on Friday afternoon, but was a late cancellation.

LaFontaine was also nowhere to be seen at First Niagara Center on Friday night when the team completed a blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Blues that sent franchise goalie Ryan Miller and team captain Steve Ott out of town. The only Sabres executive to speak on the trade was general manager Tim Murray.

If there are problems with LaFontaine, it’s not the first time it’s happened to him as an executive. He was a senior adviser to Islanders owner Charles Wang in 2006 and resigned from the position after six weeks on the job. LaFontaine was hired to his position with the Sabres on Nov. 13, 2013.

With the trade deadline coming up on Wednesday and LaFontaine being a major figure in the organization and with the team rebuild, this is a bad time to have a kerfuffle amongst the suits.