Pat LaFontaine was all smiles this morning. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Reeling Sabres fire Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston, hire fan favorites Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan

BUFFALO – Pat LaFontaine was crossing the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge on Tuesday when a customs official realized the former Sabres superstar was in the car.

“He said, ‘You should be running the Sabres,” LaFontaine said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

Little did that official know LaFontaine was about to become the Sabres’ new president of hockey operations.

In a stunning move today, the 4-15-1 club fired Darcy Regier, the general manager since 1997, and ... Read the full article

The status of general manager Darcy Regier is unknown. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Report: Sabres to name Pat LaFontaine president of hockey operations

BUFFALO – The Sabres will name Pat LaFontaine their president of hockey operations this morning, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

The status of general manager Darcy Regier and others isn’t known. The Sabres have called a 10:30 a.m. news conference inside the First Niagara Center.

LaFontaine, a Hockey Hall of Famer and team legend, is respected throughout the NHL. His No. 16 hangs in the First Niagara Center rafters.

Stay tuned for details.... Read the full article

Justin Bailey takes a break from the arduous bike test at the NHL Scouting Combine earlier this month. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHL Entry Draft profile: Williamsville’s Justin Bailey grateful for mother’s constant support

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Justin Bailey didn’t mince words. On June 16, the Williamsville native, a possible second-round pick in Sunday’s NHL Entry Draft, tweeted, “Happy Father’s Day to the closest thing I have to a Dad! Thanks for everything.”

The 17-year-old posted two Instagram photos of him beside his grandfather.

Bailey, a slick winger with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers, has a famous father, former Buffalo Bills linebacker Carlton Bailey. But the ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek's scoring pace would be high for a normal 82-game season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres can’t rely on Vanek’s sizzling production forever

BUFFALO – Follow Sabres superstar Thomas Vanek’s dynamic run closely. Enjoy watching the nifty goals, the points and knowing each time he steps on the ice something special could happen.

This might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. NHL players just don’t score at Vanek’s torrid pace anymore.

The slick Austrian already has 10 goals and 21 points through 10 appearances, a stat line from eras past. He’s on track for 47 goals and 99 points in ... Read the full article

Thomas Vanek began his point bonanza on opening day. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Crazy early pace by Sabres’ Vanek could help shatter short-season records

The scoring benchmarks set during the only other lockout-shortened season – the 48-game 1994-95 campaign – are steep. The NHL hadn’t fully devolved into a clutch-and-grab league then.

Top scorers still racked up some pretty gaudy numbers.

Peter Bondra’s 34 goals, two more than Jaromir Jagr, topped the league. Jagr and Eric Lindros both scored 70 points. Ron Francis had 48 assists.

With an utterly dominant three-goal, five-point performance in the Buffalo Sabres’ dizzying ... Read the full article

Drew Stafford thinks a 48-game schedule would be a grind. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

1994-95 Sabres recall fun and intense 48-game season

BUFFALO – Buckle up, Sabres fans. You could be watching a lot of intense, high-stakes hockey very soon.

If the NHL and the Players’ Association reach a new collective bargaining agreement by next Friday’s deadline, the league will most likely begin a shortened 48-game schedule against conference opponents Jan. 19.

Sure, losing 34 contests from the normal 82-game slate may be disappointing. But the increased importance of each game could make for some wildly entertaining ... Read the full article

Rick Jeanneret's induction into the Sabres' Hall of Fame kicked off a string of honors, including today's, the Hockey Hall of Fame's Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. ©2012, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jeanneret still going strong as Hall honor arrives

BUFFALO – The scene plays out just about each time Rick Jeanneret walks around in public. Inevitably, fans stop the Sabres’ legendary announcer and tell him how much they enjoy the team’s broadcast.

Then they make a short plea to the play-by-play veteran, whose enthusiasm and passionate calls have made him a local icon.

“The other thing they say is, ‘Please don’t retire,’” Jeanneret, who will be honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame on ... Read the full article