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Sabres announce Pat LaFontaine resigns as president of hockey operations

Mar 1, 2014, 6:53 PM EST

patlafontainegetty Getty Images

It was only in November that Pat LaFontaine was hired as the new president of hockey operations for the Buffalo Sabres.

On the first day of March, it’s been announced that he resigned the position and will return to his previous position with the National Hockey League. The Sabres made it official via Twitter on Saturday evening.

This news comes after multiple reports broke earlier in the day that the Sabres were having problems in the front office, with Lafontaine as a central figure.

“I would like to thank Pat for all he has done for the organization,” said Sabres’ owner Terry Pegula in a statement. “Pat joined us at a very difficult time and helped us transition the organization down a new path. Tim Murray will continue as general manager and Craig Patrick will continue as a senior hockey advisor.

“As has been the case since I bought the team, we’ll continue to do whatever is needed to rebuild the organization and keep it on path towards our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”

At the beginning of October, Lafontaine got a job with the NHL, working alongside Brendan Shanahan, head of the Department of Player Safety, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

This has been an interesting few days with the Sabres. And that may be an understatement.

On Friday, the Sabres pulled off a massive blockbuster deal, trading goalie Ryan Miller and center Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a third-round draft pick in 2016.

  1. nflfan4now - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Wow, just doesn’t make sense. It’s the GM he hired. I don’t think many people thought Miller should have stayed if thats his problem. Hopefully Murray will keep Nolan, unless he doesn’t want to stay without Pat.
    Kind of lost some respect for Pat L now….

    • c9castine - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      he was not hired as the GM.

      not sure how you can pass judgement on the issue with so little information. it is a weird situation though.

      • nflfan4now - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:56 PM

        Didn’t say he was the gm, said he hired the gm that made the changes that he doesn’t appear to like.

      • c9castine - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:02 PM

        anybody wanna point out where it says “pat lafontaine said he didn’t like the move murray made”

    • hockey412 - Mar 3, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      How do you lose respect for someone based on nothing but speculation?

  2. ralphwilsonisrich - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Didn’t Pat hire Murray? Murray not sure about Ted Nolan.

  3. rycoem - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    So if I have this correct, Pat said when he was hired that he didn’t have the experience to be a GM and would bring good hockey people in to assist him and learn from them. He did just that with Ted Nolan, then Craig Patrick and Tim Murray. Now, when Murray starts to do his job, Pat goes nuts because he is too personally involved with the personalities even though it was the right thing to do from a team standpoint. My advice to Pat – stay away from team management – you’ve tried twice and lasted barely months both times. Nice – no great – guy but not made up for a hockey operations position.

    The fact that Craig Patrick is staying on is also telling…

    • tms71 - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:13 PM

      Do you have some inside information about what they were fighting over? That article and the tweets say nothing about WHAT they were fighting over. I think that you are making an assumption that Lafontaine didn’t want to trade Miller but that has not come out from any source

    • ralphwilsonisrich - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      Pat won’t ever see another NHL team executive job again.

    • hockey412 - Mar 3, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      HOW DO YOU KNOW ANY OF THIS?

      I keep reading multiple comments that assume they know what is going on, just from reading a tweet? Wow…

  4. nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:06 PM

  5. lesleyvissersfacelift - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    Here’s something from another report: “General Manager Tim Murray wants to bring in his own coach after the season which has resulted in both Pat LaFontaine and President Ted Black threatening to walk out should that happen.”

    What a joke . Murray said when he was hired he was told that he didn’t have to retain Nolan if he didn’t want to. Now
    LaFontaine is throwing a hissy because Murray wants to bring in his own guy? Lost a ton of respect for him. And why is Ted Black getting in on this too? He’s president of business operations and admits he doesn’t know hockey. Why does this clown think he has input with anything on the hockey side? Black should go and no one will miss him.

    In about 6 weeks time Murray has proven he’s worth his weight in gold and he’s the only one that matters.

    Eff you Pat and Ted.

    • thomasvanek - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      I hope this isn’t true. Ted is amazing and could save this team. Murray will make no friends in Buffalo if he removes him from coaching duty.

    • storminator16 - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      “In about 6 weeks time Murray has proven he’s worth his weight in gold ”

      Not quite sure if you are serious. Six weeks. Six weeks. Let’s not over react, bro.

  6. djshnooks - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    Well, this is devastating news.

    Wtf is going on…I want some answers!!!

  7. jennettalia - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Not quite over yet.

  8. ralphwilsonisrich - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    Too many cooks in the sabres kitchen now, Where is Punch Imlach now

  9. ralphwilsonisrich - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    Then who hired Murray over there not knowing he may not want Ted

  10. penguins87and71 - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    Wow. Buffalo is a hot mess.

  11. tms71 - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    LaFontaine is very fond of Nolan. Nolan was very understanding and patient with LaFontaine when he had his concussion problems. He is very loyal to Nolan. Nolan is a good coach too. Bringing in your own guy just for the sake of it is stupid.

    • ralphwilsonisrich - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      Tim Murray the Hatchet man is the outsider here in Buffalo, The fans love and respect Ted and pat.

    • rycoem - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      Right back at ya tms71 “Do you have some inside information about what they were fighting over? That article and the tweets say nothing about WHAT they were fighting over. I think that you are making an assumption that”….Nolan is the reason and Murray is bringing someone else in “just for the sake of it”…

    • rycoem - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:33 PM

      Per Paul Hamilton WGR: “I have been told Ted Nolan has been offered a 3 year contract extension. Negotiations will continue.”

  12. dirtlatemodelfan - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Well, as a long time Sabres fan I will now be watching the Rangers and Blues for the remainder of the season.

    It is beyond difficult to continue to support an organization that literally trades away every player with talent, gets nothing in return and now looks like a joke to the rest of the league.

    • brycewest - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      I don’t think that the Sabres are a joke at all. Pegula’s a great owner and is dedicated to winning. He gave a blank check to management to buy a winning team….and that got you Leino, Ehrhoff and friends signed to OUTRAGEOUS contracts. Now, they’re righting the ship.

      If it takes a fire sale to accomplish that, so be it. Craig Patrick LOVES to stockpile picks and prospects!

      By my math, by holding onto your young guys, Hodgson, Stafford, Weber and RFAs, you’ll have $45-55 million to spend!

      That kind of money will get you a LOT of hired guns.

      • judgekloch - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:38 PM

        It’ll never happen.

    • judgekloch - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • cantphaseme - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      As opposed to what? Loosing them both to free agency and getting nothing in return?

  13. imgoingtowichita - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    Quitter x2. Black mark on a great albeit too short of a career.

  14. flyerguy73 - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    Buffalo is dying just like the hockey, and football organizations.

    • rycoem - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      very constructive…troll

    • ralphwilsonisrich - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      And Philadelphia is full of crackheads and Mafia too.

    • judgekloch - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:39 PM

      No one from Philly should ever talk about dying

  15. storminator16 - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    I just find it hilarious that many Sabres fans here are throwing Pat LaFontaine into the lake like he’s Jimmy Freaking Hoffa, for Tim Murray. The same Tim Murray who has been on the job for just mere weeks.

    Stay classy, Buffalo. I hope you continue to suck.

    • rycoem - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      Yes because Pat has been here for “mere months” so it must be right to side with him because it is all about tenure…

  16. jochenhecht - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Maybe it wasn’t about Ted Nolan?

    I have been told Ted Nolan has been offered a 3 year contract extension. Negotiations will continue.— Paul Hamilton (@pham1717) March 2, 2014

  17. judgekloch - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    What’s the big deal? Hockey is a fringe sport at best. You know…..like curling.

    • bullwinkle88 - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      Just as you are a fringe human being…at best.

  18. djshnooks - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    See ya dirtmodel! Trading away players and getting nothing in return? You clearly have no clue what you’re talking about.

    Guess you would rather keep Ott and Miller for 20 games and have them leave for nothing, like Drury and Briere.

    I swear some people are so out of touch with reality, it is disgusting. The Sabres have 9 (NINE) picks in the first 2 rounds the next 2 years…with the possibility of another 1st this year…but the potential for THREE (or more) ping pong balls in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes is the most important thing out of it all.

    This is how you build a team. Like the Bills did, you cut dead weight, bring in people who live, eat and sleep hockey (football), and let them build their team from the ground up…just like the Pens, Hawks, Bruins, Kings, Ducks, and other good team have done while the Sabres chased mediocrity with the guys you wanna keep.

    Have fun finding another team…there is no room on this wagon for people like you.

    • dueman - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:44 AM

      I agree with most of what you said except that the only ping pong ball in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes that Buffalo will have is their own, and only if they are a complete failure next year as well. The Isles will probably give you this years, unless they can land Ekblad or Reinhart, and even if the St Louis pick does turn into a 1st….do you actually think that they will be in a lottery position? That said, Buffalo is doing the right thing and will only get better with all these picks and prospects.

  19. djshnooks - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    The same Tim Murray who brought Getzlaf, Perry and a cup to Anaheim?

    Yup, that Tim Murray is just fine as a GM.

    • sk8vantuyl - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      That was Brian Murray, currently the GM of the Ottawa Senators…

  20. mattypbillsmafia - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    How is Paul Hamilton tweeting from the future??? 😳

  21. muckleflugga - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    that’s what comes of describing the size of terry peluula’s wife’s butt at his introductory presser per the enclosed graphic

    i think the term pat used was two axe handles …?

    talk about owner’s wife’s ass get own ass

    fired

    • zetaone - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      I can’t believe you wasted the 30 seconds of your life it took to type this garbage out.

      • blomfeld - Mar 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        ‘FU’ Zit Zone !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. judgekloch - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Wow! With all those draft picks the Sabres are accumulating they can pick up more players like Pysyk,Kassian, Armia, Grigerenko, Ristolainen…….. Wait……they’ve done nothing!

  23. bleedrangerblue - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    Buffalo makes the Isalnders look like a well run organization. LOL. Let’s go Rangers!!!!!!

  24. kicksave1980 - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    @djshnooks- Do you mean Bob Murray? I know that Tim Murray was a scout/talent evaluator in Anaheim, but he was never the GM.

    • sk8vantuyl - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:52 PM

      It was Bryan Murray who was the GM in Anaheim when Lupul, Getzlaf, and Perry were drafted… There’s an abundance of hockey executives named Murray!

  25. jimw81 - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    so i guess pat took his ball and went home again

  26. budzo83 - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    @kicksave1980 @djshnooks: You’re both mistaken. Bryan Murray was the architect of the Ducks team that won a Stanley Cup. Bob Murray was the GM after Burkie.

    • sk8vantuyl - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      Burke deserves a lot of the credit for the 2007 Cup win… he signed Scott Niedermayer, brought back Selanne, and traded for Beauchemin and Pronger.

      • desertfan - Mar 2, 2014 at 7:50 AM

        Finally someone who is really watching!!!

        Burkie also deserves a ton of credit for the turnaround currently shaping up in TO.

      • budzo83 - Mar 5, 2014 at 7:29 AM

        You’re right; I should have chosen my words more carefully. Bryan Murray laid the foundation for that team with his drafting. I have a lot of respect for Burkie and he was the guy who put together the final peices of the puzzle.

  27. blomfeld - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    ‘God bless the Buffalo Sabers and their fans during this difficult time … yet blessed are they, therefore may it be that a ‘new’ French Connection Line soon comes to join their ranks” :)

    *** 1972/76 Buffalo Sabers … one of the absolute ‘coolest’ teams ever assembled ***

  28. bossytrottiergillies - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Patty has now done this with two teams. NYI, when he teamed with Neil Smith for a month and then quit. Now Buffalo. Head troubles maybe make him forget what he has signed to do.

  29. zinger99 - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    This organization has a pathetic track record in player development. They would’ve turned Wayne Gretzky into a 20 goal scorer. How could anybody get excited about the Buffalo Sabres stocking up on draft picks?

  30. zinger99 - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Oh,and by the way,didn’t matter that Brett Hull’s foot was in the crease. It was a good goal.

  31. thesportsjudge - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    Does anyone else think the NHL is pretty terrible for immediately offering the guy a position? He has effectively screwed 2 franchises.

    I’m not saying he shouldn’t ever be offered a job in the NHL (itself, or teams) but let him flounder a little while.

  32. muckleflugga - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:37 AM

    zetaone

    you’re clearly a dry-ass twat bereft of sufficient intellect to comprehend an attempt at humour … successful or otherwise

    i recommend you go back to your narrow shallow existence … you effing blight on humanity and art

    you pissant self-flagellating zeroid

    • blomfeld - Mar 2, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      LOL ! … Death to all Zit Zones !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  33. lesleyvissersfacelift - Mar 2, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    Tim Murray was doing the scouting, etc. He wasn’t GM, but he had a large role in building a Cup winner in Anaheim, and a Calder Cup winner in Binghamton which turned into a strong young Ottawa team. Murray is an intelligent aggressive GM that can identify young talent — exactly what the Sabres have needed for 17 years.

    • rycoem - Mar 2, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      I also like his comments about player development and the need for Buffalo to improve a lot in that area. Murray gets it and has learned a lot from his experiences elsewhere. Thumbs up on the trade. I won’t elevate him up on a pedestal just yet but so far so good…

  34. storminator16 - Mar 2, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    I think draft picks are making too many of you over horny. You are not going to figure this all out in 5 minutes…

  35. ecnc30 - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Buffalo is an embarrassment to the league…an owner who doesn’t have a clue, finally somehow gets a good guy and a great coach in place, then they are all squabbling like little kids. Teddy has those guys playing much better and I sure he will end up being screwed by this dysfunctional organization yet again. Each side is spinning and the owner is hiding once again. Good luck to Ryan, #39 in STL, and Steve, #29 in STL and who is on a line with Derek Roy.
    Go get the Cup guys!!

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