Tonawanda News

Opinion

November 14, 2013

DUVALL: Sabres make an ooh-la-la move, finally

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Rebuilding a franchise means more than simply trading away all your good players, tanking two or three seasons and hoping the guys you draft grow up to be better than the ones they replaced. It requires a vision for the future and a definitive plan for how to execute that vision. Under Regier, I was never sure what kind of team this was supposed to be. Right now the only kind of team it is, is bad.

Enter my boyhood hero, Pat LaFontaine, to save the day. It goes without saying, I was floored when I heard the news Wednesday morning. 

I've respected and admired LaFontaine since his playing days. He was a genuine star, a humble but fearless leader in the sport. Add to that he was one of the smartest players I've ever watched. He brings the immediate cache that comes with having your number hanging in the rafters and inspires faith from a fan base that had lost almost all hope this franchise would turn things around. 

With LaFontaine comes former Sabres coach Ted Nolan. That's a more complicated reaction. I liked Nolan — to an extent. There was no denying he got more out of players than other coaches. But maximum effort doesn't always yield maximum results. 

It's one thing to inspire a ragtag bunch of goofballs like Matthew Barnaby to run through walls for you. It's another thing to instill a working system of play under which players can succeed over an extended period of time. Effort is a huge part of any successful sports team — and Lord Stanley knows it's been entirely lacking here for far too long — but it also takes refined, erudite coaching to transform a group of players into a team that can play to its strengths in a disciplined way, the same way, night after night, for 82 games. 

Text Only
Opinion
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014