Sabres fire Ron Rolston, Darcy Regier

Updated: November 13, 2013, 8:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres fired coach Ron Rolston and hired former coach Ted Nolan to replace him.

Sabres owner Terry Pegula also announced Wednesday that he fired general manager Darcy Regier and hired Pat LaFontaine as president of hockey operations.

The Sabres are 4-15-1, the worst start in franchise history. Buffalo edged the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday night to avoid tying the worst home start in NHL history.

Rolston was 19-26-6 in his brief tenure as Buffalo coach. Regier had been the Sabres' general manager since 1997.

Pegula stressed that the problems went beyond the performance of Regier, who had become the subject of "Fire Darcy" chants in Buffalo.

"He didn't do what he did by himself," Pegula said. "There was input from many people, prior owners, myself.

"Why now? I just decided, and that's the only answer I can give you. We work together, and sometimes you get to the point where a change was needed."

The organization has plenty of familiarity with Nolan and LaFontaine.

Nolan was the Sabres' coach from 1995 to 1997, winning the Jack Adams Award in 1997 as the league's top coach. Nolan also coached the New York Islanders from 2006 to 2008.

"I don't know where to begin. I guess there's not enough words inside me to express how excited I really am," said Nolan, who went 73-72-19 with the Sabres. "I may have left physically, but emotionally and spiritually, I never really left. It's a big part of my life."

He also is coach of the Latvian national team, a role he'll continue into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"Hopefully I can bring some credibility back into this organization," Nolan said. "I'm really looking forward to it."

LaFontaine starred for the Sabres from 1991 to 1997 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003. He started a job as senior executive for the league last month.

"Our job is, top to bottom, to bring a championship-caliber team year to year," said LaFontaine, who is looking to fill the vacant general manager position.

LaFontaine also hopes fans hang in there as the Sabres attempt to rebuild.

"I wouldn't use that word. I would use patience," LaFontaine said. "I can't tell you right now that we've got a lot of work in front of us. We have to be patient. ... Our vision and our dream is to get the team to be a championship-caliber team year after year after year. And we'll get there."

However LaFontaine stopped short of saying whether or not Sabres star goaltender and pending free agent Ryan Miller will be dealt or re-signed.

"We'll exercise patience and do the right thing by the organization and by the player that fits into what we want to achieve," LaFontaine said.

LaFontaine's move into the front office follows contemporaries such as Joe Sakic, who was hired as executive vice president of hockey operations for the Colorado Avalanche in May, and Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

"It's interesting how things come full circle," LaFontaine said. "We need the patience, the hard work and the support of the fans. We are in this for the long run."

LaFontaine lacks much front-office experience, lasting only six weeks as senior adviser to Islanders owner Charles Wang in 2006.

Nolan will conduct his first Sabres practice in 16 years Wednesday. Buffalo's next game is Friday at the First Niagara Center against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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