In an amazing shocker, the Buffalo Sabres have announced the firing of long-time general manager Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston today.
In a reshuffling of the deck, former Sabres great Pat Lafontaine was named President of Hockey Operations, and will quickly seek out a general manager to replace Regier. Also, ex-Sabres bench boss Ted Nolan has been hired as Interim head coach.
Regier’s tenure comes to an end after 16 years in charge of general manager duties with the club. His crowning achievements are a 1999 trip to the Stanley Cup finals and a Presidents’ trophy in 2006-07.
Over the last several years there has been little to cheer about in Buffalo. The Sabres have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons and counting. Last night the club earned only its first home victory of the 2013-14 campaign in ten tries at First Niagara Center. The Sabres record is a league worst (4-15-1).
The newly appointed Lafontaine has little-to-no experience in the new position, which is officially – President of Hockey Operations, not General Manager, according to this tweet from CBC Sports:
#Sabres fire GM Darcy Regier, coach Ron Rolston; hire Ted Nolan as coach, Pat Lafontaine as president of hockey ops
— CBC Sports (@cbcsports) November 13, 2013
Nolan previously coached the Buffalo Sabres from 1995-97. In that time he earned himself a Jack Adams trophy as coach of the year, however, his reign as top NHL coach was short lived. Nolan’s original tenure in Buffalo was a mere two years. Afterward he coached several seasons in the QMJHL, finally making his return to the big league as head coach of the New York Islanders in 2006. Nolan’s Islanders qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs in his first season as bench boss, then failed to repeat the accomplishment one year later, resulting in his termination.
Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula offered little reasoning for his decision:
“Why now? I just decided. That’s the only answer I can give you.” – Pegula #Sabres
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) November 13, 2013