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Why is the Buffalo Sabres GM Search Taking So Long?

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Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan rolled into town on November 13th as they replaced Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston respectively. LaFontaine was originally offered the GM job but turned it down due to little management experience and said that he would instead find an experienced guy to take the reigns within 2 weeks. Here we sit December 11th, almost a month later, and the Buffalo Sabres still continue down the road of rebuilding without a GM and things are starting to get serious. What the heck is taking Pat LaFontaine so long to name a new GM?

There are lots of capable guys that have been mentioned in the GM search. From Jason Botterill to Jim Benning there are many

Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

young and promising candidates ready to take that next step and GM an NHL franchise. Honestly, for a GM looking to break into the league and gain experience with one of 30 teams there really isn’t a better job than becoming the next Sabres GM. This team has become the joke of the NHL, is heading down the rebuilding path and is in desperate need of leadership. If a GM was able turn around the Buffalo Sabres it would look pretty good on their resume.

So why in a world of competitive men hoping to make themselves known in the executive world of the league, can the Sabres not name a new GM? There are several leadership guys who welcome the challenge of shaping a winning hockey team, especially with an owner willing do to whatever it takes.

It is a mystery as to why the Buffalo Sabres are still wondering down the path looking for a new GM, but I’ve come up with 3 answers to this elusive question.

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Topics: Buffalo Sabres, GM Search, Pat Lafontaine, Ted Nolan

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  • Dano

    You have all the bases covered CC.

    Ive been offered a job that I didnt do before. I didnt knowif I could do it or do it correctly so I told the employer ‘ Ill give it a try, dont count on anything being up to your standards though as Ive never done this before ‘. Maybe LalalaFontaine is in the same position.

    LalalalaFontaine now acts as the GM and hes seeing its something he COULD actually do. Maybe hes having a change of heart? He was offered the position and turned it down but is ‘ acting ‘ for now..

    Just trying to offer an explanation that makes some sense of things.

    *I* wound up keeping the job and have grown to really like it.

    I think LalalalaFontaine needs to make a few trades and show everyone if hes good or not at it. Maybe experience a draft so everyone can see if he chooses wisely or just ‘ shows up ‘.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Thanks for the read Dano glad to see someone else shares my viewpoint on the idea of LaFontaine becoming the GM. Things just seem too add for me to ignore it at this point.
      I like your explanation that he wanted to get his feet wet and see what being the GM was like and once he makes a few moves really starts to like the power. That’s also my thinking.

      • Dano

        I wouldnt say ‘ likes ‘ the power, but gains an ‘ understanding ‘ of what all his full job will entail him to do.

        Im sure theres MANY things we all believe happen as a GM for an NHL club. Were all probably onto the ‘ basic ‘ idea, but I cant imagine all of the stuff none of us have a clue about.

        I’ve never been a GM on ANY type of sports team and im sure theres parts of it I would rather not have to do.

  • Jes

    Nice read CC.
    I really hope you are wrong about Nolan being here for the long haul.

    I personally do not want a “Yes Man” in here. I want a guy who can mold his team to his pleasure. Pick his own staff. If they want a “Yes Man” then he should just name himself the GM no need to keep this crap up. I personally do not think LaFontaine wants a “Yes Man,” if he did he would’ve just named himself the GM awhile ago.

    Also Mike Futa from the LA Kings has entered the long list of candidates for the GM job. I believe he’s the chief of scouting down there. Sabres asked permission to speak with him but have not received permission as of yet.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      I don’t want a “yes man” either but based on the Sabres track record it could be a possibility.

  • Joe

    Id like to point out that leino is not a star player. Just bc he makes 5 mill a yr doesnt mean hes a star. He has had 0 production this yr. and puttin enis on the first line is nolan showing the players that if u produce and work hard u play and get the ice time

    • Caitlin Campbell

      He may not be a star player but the Buffalo Sabres signed him to BE a star play and he’s not living up to that. Yup Nolan is rewarding the players that work hardest which is the right way to do it IMO

      • Jes

        I don’t think we paid him to be a star player per say. If we were going to pay him to be a star player he would be making a lot more then $4.5 mill a year. We have paid him in hopes he could help us at center but has failed to do so. Then we switched him back to wing in hopes he would help us there but has failed to do so.

        He’s been an absolute failure in every sense of the word. A $4.5 million a year cap-hit should be getting at least a 40-50 points. McCormick and Tallinder have the same amount of points as him, let me say that again Cody McCormick and Henrick Tallinder are tied with Leino in points lol.

  • jimbobv2

    I think the reason this is taking so long is because Pat is a rookie and he’s taking his time to get this one right and not just hurrying up and hiring the first guy that sounds good.

    Honestly, I don’t really have an issue with the search taking a while. This shouldn’t be something that they rush along.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      with Calgary now also in the search the clock is officially ticking to get the right guy

      • jimbobv2

        I think Pat was using this process not just to hire a GM, but also to get some insight into how other teams were built.

        Now that Calgary is looking for a GM, I do expect to see more of a sense of urgency from LaFontaine. But, we shall see.

        And I don’t think there is a chance that LaFontaine is the GM nor that Miller will want to re-sign here regardless of who gets the GM job.

  • davidmuscalo

    Would Miller sign a new contract with a team that has no GM – I don’t think so. He will not sign a contract with the Sabres until he has a reasonably good idea as to what course the new GM will take in rebuilding the team.

    Also, the delay in hiring a GM has more to do with finding someone with vision and a solid plan for staffing the team with the kind of players that can bring that vision to fruition than with quickly filling the position with someone who looks good on paper. The new GM must be a Buffalo kind of person. My first choice, if he were available, would be John Davidson.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Since Miller won’t resign without a proper GM in pace and LaFontaine wants to handle Miller himself it lead one to believe maybe LaFontaine wants to stick around. Also it could turn into a huge disaster- either way buckle your seat belts.

  • SledPucker

    I like the fact about, LaFontaine becoming the next GM of the Sabres. Let him get his feet wet.[or his skates sharpened]

    Lets not rush and hire a guy just to fill the spot.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      the Sabres shouldn’t rush but they should be showing more urgency IMO, they know what path they’re going down and the need to get a guy to direct the ship.