The Buffalo Sabres front office is in a state of disarray after president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine abruptly exited to return to the NHL's home office.
For for Sabres general manager Tim Murray is continuing down his rebuilding path by offering numerous players around the league.
What’s going on in Buffalo? Is owner Terry Pegula meddling with this crucial rebuilding progress? Did his crony, hockey vice president Joe Battista, make a power play?
Did Sabres executives Ted Black and Ken Sawyer try to regain managerial turf? Did Murray try to usurp LaFontaine’s authority, especially in regards to coach Ted Nolan’s future?
Or did LaFontaine merely decide that running his hockey operation is not his thing? He offered no explanation for his exit and did not respond to media inquiries.
This chaos is all very unnerving for Buffalo fans and the surviving players, including, for the moment, former Blues Jaroslav Halak and Chris Stewart. The franchise appeared headed in the right direction with the hiring of Nolan and the blockbuster Ryan Miller trade, a bold move that could lead to other moves.
“It's a shocker,” defenseman Henrik Tallinder told the Buffalo News. “When he got hired, you thought he'd be here for a long time. But I don't know too much about it. I don't know what to say.”
Tallinder is still on the trade block. So is defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who recently used no-trade protection to list the places Buffalo can’t send him.
“I was shocked and very surprised,” Ehrhoff told the News. “There was a lot going on here but for me it all was about the trade deadline. I didn't see that coming at all.
“I thought Patty had done a great job since he came in here and he was always good to me. I'd probably like to know as much as you guys what went behind the scenes that made that happen.”
Murray also has forward Matt Moulson on the market, in addition to Tallinder, Ehrhoff, Halak and Stewart. He will be a busy man the next few . . . assuming that he, too, doesn’t depart Buffalo abruptly.