The Buffalo Sabres dug into their past in a major front office shakeup on Wednesday, firing general manager Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston and hiring former Sabre Pat LaFontaine as their new President of Hockey Operations and former Buffalo bench boss Ted Nolan as interim head coach.
LaFontaine told reporters at his introductory news conference that he will be hiring the next general manager and already has a short list.
LaFontaine played six seasons with the Sabres between 1991 and 1997 and was most recently a consultant with the NHL and with the New York Islanders.
"Our job is top to bottom to bring a championship calibre team year to year," said LaFontaine.
Nolan returns to the Sabres organization for the first time since his stint as head coach from 1995 to 1997. During the 1996-97 campaign, he led the Sabres to the Northeast Division title with a 40-30-12 record and won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.
"We'll compete, we'll make it exciting and we'll make it a place people want to come and enjoy hockey games again," Nolan said after being introduced.
Regier, who received a contract extension prior to last season, was in his 17th season as Sabres general manager. Under his watch, the Sabres reached the Eastern Conference final four times, most recently in 2007.
Sabres owner Terry Pegula explained why Regier was not solely to blame for Buffalo's most recent shortcomings.
"He didn't do what he did by himself," Pegula said. "There was input from many people, prior owners, myself. Why now? I just decided and that's the only answer I can give you. We work together and sometimes you get to the point where a change was needed."
The Sabres hired Rolston as their permanent head coach last spring after he served the interim position following the firing of Lindy Ruff in February.
He led the Sabres to a 15-11-5 record after Ruff was fired Feb. 20 following a 6-10-1 performance. Before being selected interim coach, Rolston had coached the Rochester Americans, Buffalo's AHL affiliate, since 2011.
The Sabres finished 21-21-6 and missed the playoffs for a second straight year and fourth time in six seasons. They have a 4-15-1 record this season.