Terry Pegula rarely speaks about his team. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres owner Pegula defends Regier, wants Miller and Vanek back

BUFFALO – Terry Pegula has finally spoken again.

In a rare “interview,” the Sabres owner fielded questions on his team’s radio program, “Sabres Hockey Hotline,” this morning, chatting 25 minutes by phone with hosts and team employees Kevin Sylvester and Andrew Peters.

Most notably, Pegula defended general manager Darcy Regier, whose teams have missed the playoffs the last two seasons, asking, “What’s he done wrong?” Pegula said he wants Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek, two franchise cornerstones likely on the trading block, to stay with the Sabres, although he understands the stars have a say.

Listen to the entire interview here.

Here are a few highlights.

Pegula on why he’s so confident in Regier and why he’s his guy:

“I’ve built a pretty good company (East Resources) in my life, and one of my main theories in life is you start with a good person, good people, and you work from there. Darcy is in that category. He is a very qualified person. I don’t want to talk about prior ownership. I have a different management style, and Darcy has a chance to flourish under our management style. … I’m giving him, I believe, more latitude in the way we operate the team with less financial restrictions. It’s not my way of doing things. I’m not saying it’s the right way. I think if you probably talk to other owners around the league, they might find me spending too much money. You may hear that or whatever. But that’s my style.

“So I’m going to do things my way, and one of the things that I like that I see is he’s been a very capable person there, a lot of knowledge, grew up (with the  New York Islanders) under Al Arbour, very knowledgeable person who … helped train him. It’s a long history there, and when you look at the history, even with the Sabres, what’s he done wrong? Help me out here. I’m going to ask a question. Do you not talk about some of the fast deals? Maybe someone was holding the painter’s hand when he was doing the painting. I don’t know.”

Pegula added later: “I probably talk to Darcy more than I talk to my wife.”

On Miller and Vanek, who each have one year left on their contracts:

“I can tell the fans I’m concerned, too. Yes, we want them here. They have a say in that decision. What that decision is, it’s no one’s been re-signed yet so we’re still working.”

On taking the interim label off of new coach Ron Rolston (Lindy Ruff’s Feb. 20 dismissal wasn’t discussed):

“One of the reasons was Ron didn’t give us much choice last year after he came in. I don’t think when you trade your captain (Jason Pominville) you deal him the best hand.”

Pegula added later: “Ron’s a teacher. There’s going to be a lot of young players coming in.”

In other news, the Sabres announced today they will hold an intrasquad scrimmage and a fan fest on July 12 at the First Niagara Center and the waterfront to conclude summer development camp.

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