SBD/February 17, 2011/Franchises

Pegula's Arrival Not Likely To Immediately Solve Sabres' Issues

Unfavorable salary cap situation among challenges Pegula would face
Sabres fans are treating the arrival of presumptive Owner Terry Pegula as an "immediate emancipation from the clutches of mediocrity," according to THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell, who writes under the header, "Pegula No Panacea." Some believe that with "one stroke of the checkbook, Pegula will cure the franchise's ills and return the Sabres to contender status, despite the fact there's not a billionaire in the world who can make the combined $12.4 million cap hit each of the next three seasons for" LW Thomas Vanek and RW Jason Pominville go away. There will be a "new vibe with the Sabres and, one can only assume, a new organizational culture eventually." Emboldened by "regime changes in Chicago and Tampa Bay that produced immediate positive results, the good people of Buffalo will have high hopes for the same with their star-crossed franchise." But Campbell writes "no matter what you think of former Sabres owner Tom Golisano, to liken him to" late Blackhawks Owner Bill Wirtz or former Lightning co-Owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules "is absurd" (THE HOCKEY NEWS, 2/21 issue).

FIRST PIECE OF THE PUZZLE? In Buffalo, Bucky Gleason reported former FSN Pittsburgh Senior VP & GM and former Penguins VP/Business & Legal Affairs Ted Black is expected to be a "key player in Terry Pegula's management team." The sale of the Sabres is "expected to gain full approval" from the NHL BOG next week, and Pegula is "already putting certain pieces into place." Black's title "has not been revealed, but he'll likely remain one of Pegula's top confidants as they begin structuring the front office." It is "conceivable Black would be named team president and oversee daily operations, but that has not been confirmed." Gleason wrote Black's experience with FSN Pittsburgh "isn't likely to change the Sabres' relationship with MSG," its TV rights holder (BUFFALO NEWS, 2/16).
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