UPDATE 2: The Buffalo Sabres have officially announced that Pat LaFontaine has resigned from his position as President of Hockey Operations, effective immediately.
The reason from the team being that LaFontaine is going back to resume his previously role with the National Hockey League.
“I would like to thank Pat for all he has done for the organization,” said Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. “Pat joined us at a very difficult time and helped 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.”
LaFontaine also stated his thanks to the Sabres organization, and wished the organization the best for the future.
“Terry Pegula hired me in November and my primary objective was to lead the Sabres organization through a time of transition,” said Pat LaFontaine. “I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time and want to thank Terry and Kim Pegula for the opportunity and their support during my time with the Sabres. I also want to convey my best wishes to all of the players in the Sabres organization and to wish them the best of success in the future. Most importantly, I want to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the great fans of the Sabres for the way I have been treated here as a player and as an executive.”
Of course, this all steams from reports that LaFontaine wanted Ted Nolan to remain on as the team’s head coach while new GM Tim Murray, who was hired by LaFontaine, didn’t.
UPDATE: There is a major breaking development regarding the issues inside the Buffalo Sabres front office. According to unconfirmed reports, the rift has to do with the future of head coach Ted Nolan. 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.
Barring any last minute efforts at reconciling, it's appears LaFontaine days with #Sabres is over. One source described situation as "ugly"
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) March 1, 2014
Again, these are unconfirmed reports, but this appears to be what many are believing to be true.
More to come…
ORIGINAL: Pat LaFontaine’s tenure as the Buffalo Sabres’ President of Hockey Operations could be coming to an end sooner than everyone expected.
Something is up with Pat LaFontaine and the Buffalo Sabres.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 1, 2014
Rumors abound of a potential shakeup in the executive suite of Buffalo Sabres. I've asked the principals for comment. No response thus far.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 1, 2014
The BUF rumors I tweeted about earlier focus primarily but not exclusively on Pat LaFontaine. Still no comment from anyone in BUF.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 1, 2014
According to swirling rumors on the internet, there is major tension inside the Sabres front office stemming from either the trade of Ryan Miller to St. Louis that occurred on Friday night, or the status of interim head coach Ted Nolan.
If there is discord in #Sabres front office, the clear issues would be disagreement over the Miller trade or the status of Nolan.
— Mike Harrington (@BNHarrington) March 1, 2014
This reported discourse has led to the speculation that LaFontaine could be on the out in Buffalo. If true, it would mark the second time in his executive career that LaFontaine has left a position within months of taking the job. In 2006 he quit the New York Islanders after just 40 days after not having any input on the team’s hiring of Garth Snow as GM.
The Sabres hired LaFontaine on November 13 after firing long-time general manager Darcy Regier. LaFontaine then fired head coach Ron Rolston, and replaced him with Ted Nolan. Current general manager Tim Murray was hired by LaFontaine on January 9.
From the start of his time as GM, Murray has made no bones about working out trades for anyone on the roster if he can get back exactly what he feels is fair value. He showed his willingness to deal with the aforementioned trade of Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the Blues for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a 2015 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2016 third-round draft pick.
Remember, all of this is simply rumor at this point, and no concrete information is known regarding LaFontaine’s status with the team. Fansided has sent a request for comment to the Sabres organization, and will update this story if/when a comment is received.