BUFFALO – Darcy Regier isn’t going anywhere.
Sabres owner Terry Pegula announced a contract extension for his general manager this afternoon during a news conference on the eve of the season opener. No details were provided.
Regier, the team’s general manager since 1997, last signed an extension in the fall of 2010.
“I am very grateful and honored to be able to continue in this capacity working with this ownership,” Regier said inside the Lexus Club at the First Niagara Center. “ … I think the beautiful thing about this organization is we continue to grow, continue to improve.”
Pegula said he approached Regier about the extension, which they’ve had “for quite some time.”
“Darcy’s a talented guy,” he said. “I know from some of the stuff I read not everyone agrees with that. But he’s got all the resources now. We work very well, and we look forward to the future. We have a great communication in our hockey department. No egos. Everyone’s pulling in the same direction, and it’s a very good situation. … It really runs very well behind curtains.”
Pegula added: “Both sides are happy with the arrangement.”
Meanwhile, in a rare chat with reporters, Pegula apologized for the 113-day NHL lockout.
“We apologize to the whole hockey fan base – the media, our sponsors and our supporters – for the hardship we may have put people through,” he said. “But sometimes things happen that you don’t plan for in life.”
Pegula believes the lockout “was worth it for the health of keeping a 30-team league.”
“Deep down inside financially you got to help some of these teams that are really struggling financially,” he said. “That’s how you keep a league, or we’ll be back to the original six before we know it. I don’t know of anybody in our group that was calling to just go ahead and settle.”
More from Pegula:
On if there’s a mandate for the team this season:
“You’ve got to look at every season to try to win the Stanley Cup. Look what happened last year. Since I’ve been owner I’ve watched two teams win the Stanley Cup. Both of them took about 40 years to do it. It’s not something you win every year as an organization.
“I think that our team is a lot different than the team I inherited when I bought it. I would say it’s got a new imprint on it, new mark. It looks like a good hockey team.”
On Sabres coach Lindy Ruff:
“The one thing I’ve noticed about Lindy is he can change, he does change. He coached the highest-scoring team in the league a few years back and can also coach a team that is responsible defensively. He’s pretty opened-minded. It seems right before you talk about saying maybe we need to do this or that, he’s already thought about it. He’s very perceptive in what his shortcomings or obligations have to be moving forward.”
In other news, Regier said the futures of franchise goalie Ryan Miller, captain Jason Pominville and winger Thomas Vanek – whose contracts all expire after next season – have been discussed.
“It’s something we’ll continue to work on and review as we move forward,” Regier said. “But it’s obviously in our focus.”
In on-ice news, Ruff acknowledged 18-year-old first-round pick Mikhail Grigorenko will make his NHL debut Sunday.
One of Grigorenko’s wingers, Ville Leino, has a possible leg injury and missed practice today. Leino plans to test the injury Sunday morning and is questionable. Jochen Hecht skated in his spot today.