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November 14, 2013

MROZIAK: Will reaching back bring Sabres forward?

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Tonawanda News — His departure from the Sabres wasn’t necessarily the most justified. Still, the game has changed since Nolan’s last NHL coaching job with the New York Islanders. If he wants to become the permanent coach, he needs to prove himself.

Meanwhile, if there’s one thing about LaFontaine’s hire that immediately impresses me, it’s what was said in Wednesday morning’s news conference. Pegula, when recalling the conversation, noted that LaFontaine, when asked if he felt he was GM material, didn’t agree but discussed what he could offer. 

I respect him for not trying to take on more than he feels he’s prepared to do. Smart leaders recognize what they do not necessarily know, then find the right people who do.

That’s what will be the most important development in all this: the general manager that LaFontaine will choose. Of all the names tossed about by reporters and armchair speculators alike, there were some names who also represent Buffalo hockey’s past. Among them were Rick Dudley and Jim Schoenfeld. Dudley remains a very respected hockey mind while Schoenfeld has risen in the managing ranks in the New York Rangers organization.

Until that decision is made and a GM is introduced, I’m willing to greet the change at First Niagara Center with a very cautious optimism.

Follow Niagara Gazette Sports Editor Michael Mroziak on Twitter at @MrozGazette.

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