Tag: Ted Black

Tim Murray, Pat LaFontaine

Sabres address LaFontaine resignation, ready to move forward


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.”

PHT Morning Skate: Things aren’t going well for Simon Gagne

Simon Gagne

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Simon Gagne would like to at least ride a stationary bike during his concussion recovery, but he can’t because his symptoms are still there. (L.A. Kings Insider)

Sens owner Eugene Melnyk can’t wait to get the bonus money he gave to Dany Heatley back. (Ottawa Sun)

Brian Campbell is loving life at the All-Star Game with his family. Aww… (On Frozen Pond)

In case you were curious: Brian Connelly, the guy acquired for Brendan Morrison, is hoping to get a chance in Calgary. (Calgary Sun)

Meanwhile, Marian Hossa is excited to have Morrison in Chicago. (Chicago Tribune)

Gary Bettman says the Blues’ sale to Tom Stillman is “still on track.” (Post-Dispatch)

All-Star goalies are ready to get sunburn on the back of their neck courtesy of the goal light today. (Ottawa Sun)

News you’ve heard before: Big changes could be coming to Buffalo’s roster. (Buffalo News)

Carey Price stopped Sean Couturier with his back turned last night. (Backhand Shelf)

Daniel Alfredsson is loving life being shown the love in front of the home fans in Ottawa. (Senators)

Sabres president: “It’s a tough year”

Ted Black

We all know how bad things have been for the Buffalo Sabres this season. They’re sitting last in the Eastern Conference, they’re getting their only solid production out of Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek, and the fans are ready to revolt.

John Vogl of the Buffalo News hears from Sabres team president Ted Black about how even if the Sabres were made up of legends in their worst years they’d still struggle.

“It’s a tough year,” Black said. “Guys are just on pace to have career-low years in key categories such as goals. If you had a team that had Lemieux, Gretzky, Orr and Howe, and imported their worst statistical years, you’d probably have a team that wasn’t going to make the playoffs. There’s no slight to those great players, the fact is every player has a career-best year, and every player has a career-worst year.

“Unfortunately, we’ve got a lot of guys that are on track to have their worst year on the same team in the same year.”

Rack up what Ryan Miller, Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Brad Boyes, and just about anyone else on the Sabres roster is doing and Black has a point. If you think that either Darcy Regier or Lindy Ruff will pay for these struggles with their jobs, Black says that won’t be the case.

Sorry bloodthirsty Sabres fans, it looks like you’ll have to suffer through the struggles with the rest of the front office.

Sabres officially extend Lindy Ruff’s contract in Buffalo

Lindy Ruff

For any Sabres fans that thought coach Lindy Ruff might not be sticking around after another first round exit from the playoffs and with a new owner on the scene in Terry Pegula, think again.

The Sabres officially gave Ruff a multiyear extension today, the terms of which are unknown. Considering that Ruff has been the Sabres bench boss since 1997, it seems like it would take an act of God to get him to stop being the coach in Buffalo. For Pegula and GM Darcy Regier, however, change is something that doesn’t come easy and they’re happy to stay the course and keep things familiar.

Team president Ted Black explains the Sabres philosophy when it comes to personnel decisions and the Sabres upcoming offseason.

“That’s the Pegula way. They treat people like family, and I think that we’re going to be on the short list — we being Buffalo and the Buffalo Sabres — we’re going to be on the short list of a lot of free agents and players that are putting together their no-trade lists. We’re going to be the exception on no-trade lists. They’re going to want to come here.”

Considering that Buffalo isn’t a city that generally excites a lot of players, selling them on a great atmosphere in the organization as well as within the locker room is a smart approach. A lot of places might be teeming over with drama or have that feeling like the those on the top of the organization don’t care about what goes on so long as the financials all make sense.

It’s clear that Pegula is taking a more down home approach to owning a professional sports franchise. It’s a pretty remarkable change and one that’s wholly unique. Whether it pays off in free agency this July remains to be seen, but we’ll be curious to see if it works. Keeping things steady with the front office and now the head coach position goes a long way towards doing that.