How did LaFontaine and Nolan end up in Buffalo?
With an announcement today that came out of left field, two former Sabres Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan are back with the organization, but how exactly did this all go down?
Darcy Regier was the general manager of the Sabres for almost 6,000 straight days, but it took just ten to send him packing.
The Buffalo Sabres announcement of the firing of Darcy Regier (and to a lesser extent, Ron Rolston) was so long overdue that it was almost a surprise that it happened at all. The team's announcement today of the hiring of Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan, on the other hand, was so out-of-the-blue, that it made the hockey world wonder - how did this even happen?
During the series of press conferences that LaFontaine, Nolan, and owner Terry Pegula gave to various media members today, the story of how this new front office team came to be slowly started to leak out.
It all started about ten days ago...*cue dream sequence music*
Ten days ago, while at an impromptu lunch meeting regarding concussions, Terry Pegula and his social buddy Pat LaFontaine ("We've had steaks together," said Pegula) started talking Sabres hockey, and LaFontaine impressed the team's owner with his knowledge, professionalism, and ideas. "It was a meeting totally for something else," said Pegula, "I guess I popped the question." When asked if LaFontaine could be a GM, Patty honestly answered that he could be someday, but not right now; instead LaFontaine offered his services to Pegula in a capacity he thought he was ready for.
As for Nolan, his hire was LaFontaine's decision, and came very recently. Nolan, who got a bit choked up during his first speech in the presser, said he wasn't sure how to react when LaFontaine called him up, but the oft-ostracized coach was extremely grateful to the organization for giving him another chance in the NHL.
Pegula was reticent to give a definitive answer on why now was the right time to let Regier go, simply stating (in a five minute rambling answer) that he wanted to give Regier the chance to prove himself under new management, but that recently, "I just decided, and that's the only answer I can give you."