Tonawanda News


November 14, 2013

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


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. 

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014

  • ADAMCZYK: Homesick for someplace I've never been You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what's changed and what never will.

    July 11, 2014

  • WALLACE: Playing politics as usual The immigration crisis is just the most recent example of how dysfunctional Washington, D.C. is right now.

    July 10, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg A stunning scandal in Mississippi-voting|DUVALL: A stunning scandal in Mississippi We don't tend to talk a whole lot about Mississippi on this paper's editorial page and for good reason. It's a long way away in both distance and temperament. But I swear this will be worth it.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo