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Video: Defiant Flyers owner meets the media (seriously) after Laviolette is fired

By Mike Harrington

Click above for a video from CSN Philly that shows a clip of the Flyers' press conference Monday announcing the surprise firing of coach Peter Laviolette after three games. Who is shown answering the question?

A longtime Philadelphia staple. Ed Snider. The owner.

Yes, owners really do attend press conferences. Especially when they fire coaches and need to show some accountability to the fans for their decisions. They even answer questions about the situation.

(Sorry to open an old wound, Sabres fans. The point had to be made in the wake of Monday's events.)

Snider even put out a pretty passionate defense of his franchise. Wouldn't you have liked to have heard that at some point since February? 

Now, admittedly, the question in the video here is a little goofy. Yes, the Flyers haven't won a Stanley Cup since they beat the Sabres in 1975, but I don't know there's a whole lot wrong with a "culture" that includes 16 playoff appearances in the last 18 seasons -- including six conference finals and two trips to the Stanley Cup final. 

Go back even further and the Flyers have made four other trips to the Stanley Cup final (1976, 1980, 1985, 1987). Yes, they lost them all. But again, is there a problem with the "culture" of the franchise? This seems to be a "problem" I know the Eastern Conference's other 0-3 team would love to have.

Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski, however, says a stale culture is absolutely a problem for the Flyers. And the hiring of assistant coach and former Philly enforcer Craig Berube just reinforces it.

Hmmm. OK. If you say so.

Sabres' Miller inducted into Michigan State Hall of Fame; Hank Bullough, too

By John Vogl

Ryan Miller made a quick departure from Buffalo after his first practice of training camp. The goaltender had a memorable reason.

Michigan State has inducted its highly decorated alumnus into its athletic Hall of Fame. The ceremony was Thursday night in East Lansing, Mich.

"Great to be back on campus at MSU," Miller wrote on his Twitter account. "Very honored to be inducted into the athletic hall of fame along with my cousin Kip. #GoGreen"

Miller won the Hobey Baker with the Spartans in 2001 and was a two-time All-American. Along with Kip, who also played hockey, Miller was joined in the Hall by former Buffalo Bills coach Henry "Hank" Bullough, Morris Peterson (basketball) and Jenna Wrobel (volleyball).

Miller is not taking part in the Sabres' practices today. They began at 7:50 a.m. Team owner Terry Pegula is in attendance, so there is likely a team function later, hence the early start time.

Here is the Michigan State news release on the class and its feature on Miller.

Pegula backs Regier as Sabres' GM; owner 'concerned' about status of Vanek, Miller

By John Vogl

Terry Pegula says he talks to Darcy Regier more than his own wife. The chats have convinced the Buffalo Sabres’ owner he has the right general manager despite a playoff history that suggests otherwise.

“He is a very qualified person,” Pegula said today during an appearance on the Sabres’ radio show. “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.

“When you look at the history, even with the Sabres, what’s he done wrong? Help me out here. I’m going to ask the question. You gonna talk about some of the past deals. Maybe someone was holding the painter’s hand while he was doing the painting.”

Continue reading "Pegula backs Regier as Sabres' GM; owner 'concerned' about status of Vanek, Miller" »

The silent owner's daughter speaks, er, tweets her disgust

Tweet
By Mike Harrington

Terry Pegula's beloved investment can once again fall into 30th place in the NHL overall standing tonight but it's not likely to happen. To pass the Sabres, the Columbus Blue Jackets** would need to get two points in Chicago, which has opened the season with a league-record run of 17 straight games with a point from the start of the year (14-0-3).

(**You know things are hitting rock bottom when you're in the same category as the Jackets, a woebegone franchise that has won exactly zero playoff games since it was born in 2000).

Still, the Sabres are already dead last in the East and 29th in the NHL. And nobody thought that's where they would be closing in on the halfway mark of the shortened season.

Another low point was Saturday's 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. And while the owner stays silent -- even after firing coach Lindy Ruff -- at least one member of the Pegula family is talking about the mess at One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza.

Continue reading "The silent owner's daughter speaks, er, tweets her disgust" »

It's time for Terry to talk -- today

Terry
The fans need to hear from Terry Pegula. (AP Photo)


By Mike Harrington

(2:20 p.m  update Wednesday: The Sabres confirm Terry Pegula will do no interviews today).

I spoke to the the Sabres public relations department yesterday afternoon, following protocol by requesting an interview with owner Terry Pegula. The thinking was that Friday is the second anniversary of his opening press conference** and it might be nice to get his thoughts about where the organization stands on all fronts, especially in the wake of the all-systems-go the HarborCenter project got Tuesday afternoon combnied with the struggles on the ice. 

(**You remember that presser, right? "Starting today, the Buffalo Sabres' reason for existence will be to win a Stanley Cup" is the most-remembered line. But it also included "Lindy ain't goin' nowhere" and "To whom much is given, much is required.")

I was reminded, correctly, that Pegula has taken a step back from most interviews and that team president Ted Black is doing the bulk of the talking. Black, to his credit, is taking all the bullets every week on WGR Radio and did so again last week during an 18-minute interview at Buffalonews.com.

In the wake of last night's fiasco against Winnipeg, my interview request is foolish. This is no time for any big picture reflection. The franchise is in complete crisis and Pegula doesn't need to do any perfunctory 10-minute phone interview with me.

He needs to stand in front of me, WGR Radio, the Olean Times Herald, every televsion camera in town and every other outlet that comes in from time to time in Western New York and Southern Ontario and explain what in the world is going on here.

Continue reading "It's time for Terry to talk -- today" »

Pegula extends Regier, says Sabres look like 'a good hockey team'

By Mike Harrington

After making the customary apology to fans virtually every NHL owner has made this week in the wake of the lockout, Sabres owner Terry Pegula dropped a surprise on reporters at the start of his 22-minute news conference today in the Lexus Club at First Niagara Center: He has agreed to a contract extension with General Manager Darcy Regier.

Regier, who took over the club in the summer of 1997, signed what's believed to be a two-year extension in the fall of 2010 and it's not completely clear how long this extension will run. The Sabres do not release contract terms but Regier's original deal was not expiring after this season anyway.

"Both sides are happy with the arrangement," Pegula said. "And we look forward to continuing to work with Darcy into the future. The timing of this decision was not today. We've been talking about this. We had this agreement for quite some time. I approached him. Darcy is a talented guy. ... We work very well together and we're looking forward to the future."

Said Regier: "I am very grateful and honored to be able to continue in this capacity working with this ownership."

In other notes from the press conference:

---Pegula on the lockout: "It's good to be back. I can tell you as an organization, the Sabres are very glad to be playing hockey again. We apologize to the whole hockey fan base, the media, our sponsors and our supporters for the hardship we may have put people through but sometimes things happen that you don't plan for in life."

---Pegula he talked often to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during the lockout and said he felt it was necessary to help struggling small market teams. Pegula said he did not push for a quick resolution: "I'm a new owner so I'm not about to say, 'OK, here's what we're going to do, guys."

---Pegula said the Sabres' goal remains to win the Stanley Cup and he's been heartened by watching Boston and Los Angeles end droughts in the 40-year range by winning it the last two years.

---Regier said the team has already had organizational talks about the contracts of stars Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek -- all of which expire after next season.

---Pegula on this year's club: "I think our team is a lot different than the team I inherited when I bought it. It's got a new imprint on it, a new mark. It looks like a good hockey team."

---Pegula used the term "totally inaccurate" when asked about numerous reports in Pennsylvania he paid $1.3 million to augment the salary of Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien and keep him in Happy Valley so he wouldn't jump to the NFL.

Full audio of the press conference is here


Terry Pegula/Darcy Regier/Ted Black

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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