Posts Tagged ‘Pat Lafontaine’

Top Line: Penguins look like major trade players; Sabres dysfunction; more links

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Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks

Plum trade bait Ryan Kesler of the Canucks may be donning a Penguins sweater soon. (Bob Frid/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

• The Penguins always seem to be in the middle of things during the NHL’s silly season, and they’re expected to be active again this year. Beat reporter Rob Rossi identifies their top targets as Ryan Kesler, Marek Zidlicky and Ales Hemsky. I’d say there’s a better than even-money chance that GM Ray Shero lands both Zidlicky and Hemsky.

• The Flyers are in the running for Kesler as well, but they’re also interested in a much bigger deal with the Canucks. Now this could make things interesting …

• The incompetent handling of Pat LaFontaine’s departure/firing proves that the era of front-office bungling isn’t over in Buffalo.

• All that turmoil leaves a pressing question to be answered: What does it all mean for the future of coach Ted Nolan? There are no guarantees for anyone with who wears the interim tag, but Nolan has done enough to prove that he’s worthy of a permanent gig. If he is cut loose again, the Sabres can kiss whatever remaining crumbs of credibility that they have goodbye.

• Buffalo and Vanvouver are both franchises that began in turmoil. Forty years later, they’ve returned to a state of confusion ahead of the trade deadline.

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  • Published On Mar 04, 2014
  • Top Line: Pat LaFontaine shocker, Ryan Miller’s new era, more links

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    Craig Patrick, Pat LaFontaine and Tim Murray of the Buffalo Sabres

    Pat LaFontaine (center) seems to have lost a power struggle in Buffalo’s front office. (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

    By John Rolfe

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Bucky Gleason examines the abrupt resignation of Sabres hockey ops president Pat LaFontaine, a stunning development that suggests the dual boogeymen of discord and dysfunction have barged into Buffalo’s seemingly sunny front office. Apparently, the Ryan Miller trade was the product of a power struggle that was lost by the Hall of Famer, who loved working with the Sabres but now returns to the NHL and his former gig in the department of player safety. What this bodes for the rebuilding team should be interesting.

    • Meanwhile, Ryan Miller is more than happy to be making a fresh start in St. Louis.

    • Playing outdoors is nice and all, but its appeal is clearly limited, as Vancouver has learned. Seats are still available for today’s Heritage Classic, which has been hurt by the lack of rivalry between the Canucks and Ottawa Senators as well as the teams’ underwhelming play this season. A rematch of the 1915 Stanley Cup Final hasn’t exactly made fans stampede to the box office, but the game should have its charms.

    • With Eddie Lack getting the start for the Canucks in today’s marquee event, what does it mean for Roberto Luongo?

    • Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says he’s not giving much thought to the trade deadline despite his team’s struggles of late–Saturday night’s outdoor demolition of the Penguins notwithstanding.

    • The Penguins, who have some issues to address, may be very interested in Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler.

    • In his Sunday collection of thoughts and observations, Larry Brooks of the New York Post says the Rangers have done all they can to keep Ryan Callahan, an impending UFA, but the Blueshirts’ captain has every right to wonder why he’s being asked to take less than he thinks he’s worth when GM Glen Sather has had a habit of lavishing riches on some pretty questionable imports.

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  • Published On Mar 02, 2014
  • Pat LaFontaine shows genius in hiring Tim Murray as Buffalo Sabres’ new GM

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    Pat LaFontaine of the Buffalo Sabres

    Hockey ops president Pat LaFontaine actually doubled up on what the Sabres need most. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It doesn’t matter that it took Pat LaFontaine two months to name the new general manager of the Sabres, just so long as he found the right guy.

    In the end, he may have found two.

    Saying he’s “on a mission to bring the right people” to Buffalo,” LaFontaine announced today that he had hired Tim Murray as GM and, in a bit of a surprise move, Craig Patrick as a special assistant and advisor to the hockey ops department.

    Murray was a dark horse when this process started, generating little buzz compared to candidates like Brad Treliving, Jim Benning and Mike Futa. He’s hardly a household name, but Murray has paid his dues to get to this point. He first got his foot in the door as a scout with the Red Wings in 1993. A year later, he went to Florida where he became the director of amateur scouting for the Panthers. In 2002, he joined the Ducks as director of player personnel before moving on to the Rangers and, finally, the Senators. In Ottawa, he served as the assistant GM, as well as the GM of the Senators’ AHL farm club in Binghamton, N.Y. Murray has had his hands in almost every part of the hockey pie along the way, but his strength lies in talent evaluation — the core quality that LaFontaine was looking for during his search.

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  • Published On Jan 09, 2014
  • Top Line: Buffalo Sabres facing big change; Crosby’s slump; more links

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    Zemgus Girgensons of the Buffalo Sabres

    With a new coach, Zemgus Girgensons and the Sabres will now try to put their painful start behind them. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Bucky Gleason writes that the biggest challenge facing Pat Lafontaine and Ted Nolan will be rebuilding the bridges burned during Darcy Regier’s 16-year reign of error with the Buffalo Sabres.

    • It didn’t take long for Buffalo’s players to find out exactly what to expect from new coach Ted Nolan.

    • Zemgus Girgensons was going to be playing for Nolan this season one way or another.

    • Mike Halford looks at some potential candidates for Buffalo’s vacant GM job. I’d add Philly assistant Ron Hextall to the list.

    • Sidney Crosby has gone seven games without a goal. For Evgeni Malkin, his slump has reached 10. Is it time to worry in Pittsburgh?

    • Nazem Kadri is at his best when his game has a bit of and edge to it, but he took it too far against the Wild on Wednesday night. The Leafs can ill afford to lose another center right now, but it looks like Kadri could be sitting for a couple of games after earning a match penalty for attempting to injure Mikael Granlund.

    • Kadri’s mental lapse is symptomatic of a Toronto team that seems hellbent on making life difficult for itself.

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  • Published On Nov 14, 2013