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LaFontaine won't let Milbury drag him into muck

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04-08-2012, 01:00 PM
  #1
Sabretip
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LaFontaine won't let Milbury drag him into muck

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It was clear Pat LaFontaine wasn't biting, or biting back, when reached last week about comments Mike Milbury made to the Wall Street Journal concerning his departure nearly six years ago from the New York Islanders. Always the diplomat, the former Sabres captain and center elected to take the high road.

LaFontaine has a chilly relationship, or none at all, with the Islanders since resigning as a volunteer adviser to owner Charles Wang. Milbury, who was on the Islanders' board of governors at the time, suggested LaFontaine darted from the problems with the team rather than help find solutions to them.

"Pat ran for the hills. Pat ran for cover," Milbury, an analyst for NBC and CBC, told the newspaper in a story published last week. "It was cowardly, and it was terrible. And if Charles was [ticked], I wouldn't blame him in the least."

For what it's worth, a few days after the fallout in July 2006, I wrote a column criticizing Wang for firing Neil Smith six weeks after hiring him as general manager and replacing him with backup goaltender Garth Snow. In the same piece, I wrote that LaFontaine might have damaged his reputation by stepping down.

Three weeks ago, in an informal conversation before our sons played against one another — Long Island 12, Hamburg 0 — in the state 16-under tournament in Northtown Center in Amherst, we discussed that column in particular and why he left the Isles in general.

LaFontaine explained that his decision to resign came down to standing up for what he thought was right and believing Smith should have remained on the job. His rationale for refusing to collect a salary from Wang: He wanted the ability to offer an unfiltered opinion without worrying about his job, and he didn't think it was possible unless he worked for free. That way, he had full freedom and nothing to lose.

Ultimately, he didn't believe he could function in an advisory role if his advice on major matters was ignored. It was about principle.

And it made sense.

When reached by telephone last week for a follow-up interview after the Wall Street Journal story was published, LaFontaine had little interest in responding to Milbury's comments and less in getting into a public dispute with the Islanders.

"Listen, I tell my kids to stay focused and stay committed through distractions," LaFontaine said. "To be honest with you, [knowing] this was all coming out, I was interested and focused with winning a national championship for my son and my team and Long Island. I don't have time to deal with those types of comments."

It was vintage LaFontaine.

The Islanders did not make Wang available for an interview last week. A spokesman instead directed their message to Wang's prepared statement in the Wall Street Journal.

"Pat LaFontaine had a great NHL career and does a lot for the Long Island community," Wang said in the statement. "We wish him all the best."

Who has the most credibility — Milbury, Wang or LaFontaine? You be the judge.

Milbury stepped on his tongue last week and called the Penguins to apologize for comments he made about Sidney Crosby on a Philadelphia radio station. In the Stanley Cup final last June, he infuriated the Canucks by referring to the Sedin twins as "Thelma and Louise." He also was the GM who helped run the Islanders into the ground.

Wang has been an owner since 2000 and became majority owner in 2004. The Isles have missed the playoffs six times in the past seven years, nine in 13 seasons. Former Sabres coach Ted Nolan, the man LaFontaine recommended for the job, guided them to the playoffs in 2006-07. Buffalo delivered a first-round knockout in their only postseason appearance since the lockout.

LaFontaine has been known as a consummate professional and class act throughout his career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 after scoring 458 goals and 1,013 points in his NHL career. He has raised millions of dollars for charity with most of the money going toward causes to help children.

Great guy, great player, but the Isles have all but deleted him from their memory while celebrating their 40th anniversary season. The Journal outlined how the Islanders (see: Wang, Charles) have barely acknowledged his place in team history even though he was one of the best ever to wear their uniform.

Indications point toward the Isles' pettiness bordering on absurd. And they wonder why few players are interested in playing there.

LaFontaine scored one of the biggest goals in franchise history when he beat the Capitals in the fourth overtime in a game that started April 18 and ended April 19, 1987. The goal from the "Easter Epic" isn't included in their highlight video, according to the newspaper. They didn't retire his No. 16 jersey, either, as they have other all-time greats.

In 2008, the Islanders refused to give him a credential so he could meet GM Brian Burke, who was with Anaheim at the time, about working with "Champions in Courage," the charity he founded to build playrooms in children's hospitals. Burke ended up getting a ticket for the game. LaFontaine, who lives on Long Island, hasn't returned.

LaFontaine and the midget team he coached should have been invited to a game last week after winning the national title in Buffalo. The Royals were the first team from Long Island to win a national title since 1982-83, when the Isles won the Stanley Cup. Honoring the kids and their coach would have been a nice gesture, don't you think?

"Thanks," LaFontaine said, "but I'll take the high road."
http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/sa...icle801071.ece

While he's entrenched with home and businesses on Long Island, he's often called Buffalo his second home. It'd be great if Pegula and Black find a way to get Pat involved with the Sabres.

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04-08-2012, 01:37 PM
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Myllz
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Has Milbury been right about anything? Ever?

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04-08-2012, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretip View Post
http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/sa...icle801071.ece

While he's entrenched with home and businesses on Long Island, he's often called Buffalo his second home. It'd be great if Pegula and Black find a way to get Pat involved with the Sabres.
Thanks for the story. I couldn't agree with you more. Pat is the very definition of class.

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04-08-2012, 02:25 PM
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SabresBillsBuffalo
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Pat was the last true true Superstar we had granted Briere and Drury were great, and **** Milbury hes a ****ing clown.

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04-08-2012, 02:34 PM
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How Does Mildue the *** have a job?


Last edited by Chainshot: 04-08-2012 at 09:06 PM. Reason: Please let the filter do its job...
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04-08-2012, 02:49 PM
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BuiltTagonTough
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Par for the course. LaFontaine is a standup guy, Milbury is a ******.

And as far as "Should have helped solve the problems", is Milbury referring to the same ones he created when he got rid of players like Chara and Luongo and brought in guys like Yashin?

How this guy has a job is beyond me.

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04-08-2012, 03:31 PM
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How Milbury still finds work in anything hockey related is one of the greatest mysteries of modern civilization. Even ********** look at MM and wonder "really?"

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04-08-2012, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabresBillsBuffalo View Post
Pat was the last true true Superstar we had granted Briere and Drury were great, and **** Milbury hes a ****ing clown.
What about Dom?

The worst thing about watching hockey on national TV is Milbury and Jones, though the former is much worse than the latter.

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04-08-2012, 06:07 PM
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jamers
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Milbury trying to throw Pat under the bus is hilarious. Milbury doesn't even register on Pat's radar.

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04-08-2012, 06:09 PM
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sabresfan129103
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Patty is pure class all the way.

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04-08-2012, 06:26 PM
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dire wolf
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Gonna go get my Patty La sweater out of the closet and parade it around the house yelling "Milbury is a tool!" for a few minutes.

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04-08-2012, 06:42 PM
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Rob Paxon
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Milbury is one of the worst in national sports broadcasting. Everything he says is as irritating as it is stupid.

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04-08-2012, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabresBillsBuffalo View Post
Pat was the last true true Superstar we had granted Briere and Drury were great
Not sure if serious.

Greatest goaltender of all-time ring any bells?

Two Harts. Six Vezinas. Olympic gold.

No?

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04-08-2012, 07:52 PM
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No offense but neither of these guys hold any significance to me.

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04-08-2012, 08:04 PM
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Sabretip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myllz View Post
Has Milbury been right about anything? Ever?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyersMagic57 View Post
How Does Mildue the *** have a job?
Quote:
Originally Posted by slip View Post
How Milbury still finds work in anything hockey related is one of the greatest mysteries of modern civilization. Even ********** look at MM and wonder "really?"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Paxon View Post
Milbury is one of the worst in national sports broadcasting. Everything he says is as irritating as it is stupid.
Sadly, for some inexplicable reason, TV executives at the networks always think that putting some loud-mouth, bitterness-exuding, self-proclaimed expert that loves to incite arguments and controversy on the air enhances the broadcast. It's apparently why Milbury has always had a job on US television since failing at NHL coaching / management - just as Cherry has done on Canadian television for the same reasons.

Frankly, whenever either guy is on the air, I switch channels. I imagine a lot of other hockey fans do the same rather than subject themselves to the "insights" that those two provide that belong more in a supermarket rag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SabresBillsBuffalo View Post
Pat was the last true true Superstar we had granted Briere and Drury were great, and **** Milbury hes a ****ing clown.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flophound View Post
What about Dom?
LaFontaine was and still is my all-time favorite NHLer (duh) but even I would have to say that Hasek was an even higher superstar than Pat was. Pat was definitely the kind of player that will always be a legend in Sabres' history but Hasek was not only that but the type that will always be a legend in NHL history.


Last edited by Chainshot: 04-08-2012 at 09:06 PM. Reason: Fixed quote... filter.
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04-08-2012, 08:55 PM
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Rob Paxon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretip View Post
LaFontaine was and still is my all-time favorite NHLer (duh) but even I would have to say that Hasek was an even higher superstar than Pat was. Pat was definitely the kind of player that will always be a legend in Sabres' history but Hasek was not only that but the type that will always be a legend in NHL history.
To take it further, Hasek is one of only three guys off the top of my head (OJ Simpson and Bruce Smith) in Buffalo sports history who could even conceivably be in the discussion of best ever at his position.

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04-08-2012, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by MayDay View Post
Not sure if serious.

Greatest goaltender of all-time ring any bells?

Two Harts. Six Vezinas. Olympic gold.

No?

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04-09-2012, 07:33 AM
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I couldn't read the whole article because my eyes filled up of tears because I was laughing so hard; Milbury being interviewed for Wall St. Journal

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04-09-2012, 08:44 AM
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flyingpig
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Originally Posted by Play4Miracles View Post
No offense but neither of these guys hold any significance to me.
Serious question.. Do they not hold significance because it was a generation before you or do you have another reason for this? I have no idea how old you are.

They were two guys that were incredibly talented hockey players who were at the top of their position league wide when they played here.

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04-09-2012, 01:56 PM
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Ralonzo
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They didn't retire his No. 16 jersey, either, as they have other all-time greats.
But they did see fit to retire Pat Flatley's number. Yes, Pat ****ing Flatley. That's kinda like the Sabres retiring number #16... for Ric Seiling

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