On Wednesday, the Sabres started a housecleaning process by firing general manager Darcy Regier and coach Ron Rolston.
As the Sabres begin to rebuild, Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning could become a significant member of their organization. He is being considered to replace Regier, according to a league source.
Pat LaFontaine, Buffalo’s new president of hockey operations, has yet to ask the Bruins for permission to interview Benning but is expected to inquire.
Benning worked in the Sabres’ front office for 12 seasons and was director of amateur scouting before the Bruins hired him in 2006. Benning was the Bruins’ director of player personnel for one season. He was promoted to his current position on July 14, 2007.
Benning is GM Peter Chiarelli’s right-hand man. Benning’s strength is as a player evaluator at all levels — NHL, AHL, European professional leagues, and amateur hockey.
Benning is one of the candidates on what is considered a short list. Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill is also in the mix, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Both Benning and Botterill have helped to build championship rosters.
Buffalo’s new GM would be free to hire a coach. Ted Nolan is serving as interim coach.
Don Sweeney is the Bruins’ other assistant GM. He focuses primarily on player development.
Killing some time
The Bruins were not happy with their penalty-killing unit against New Jersey Oct. 26. The Devils ripped up the Bruins for four power-play goals. The next game, the Bruins allowed another power-play goal, to the Penguins.
Since then, the PK has regained its rhythm. The Bruins were 4 for 4 on the penalty kill in Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime win over the Blue Jackets and have killed off 26 straight penalties. Zdeno Chara led all players with 5:12 of shorthanded ice time.
“We were really disappointed in that game against New Jersey,” said coach Claude Julien. “Finding a way to bounce back and be real solid since then was a goal of ours. Every game is a new challenge. Guys are looking forward to it. They want to prolong it as long as they can. Tonight, we needed our goaltender [Chad Johnson] as well to make the big saves at the right times and keep that streak going.”
Nick Foligno returns
Nick Foligno returned to the Columbus lineup after missing the last two games because his daughter was recently born with a heart defect that required surgery, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
“As players, there’s always things off the ice that can affect you. He’s obviously dealing with a major, major issue whenever it gets into your kids, family, and obviously an infant,” said Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards. “What it does, it just saps your energy and takes your focus away from your job, which is very understandable. It’s the way it should be. That takes priority over hockey. With him being able to come back is obviously a great sign on many fronts. First is for the child. Second is Nick just getting back into the routine of what he loves to do and being around his teammates, which is his second family.”
Foligno scored one of Columbus’s goals. The ex-Senator has four goals and three assists in 12 games.
“It was nice to get back in with the guys and start battling for some wins,” Foligno said. “It was also nice to get that goal for my daughter, for sure. I know that she’s battling right now, so it’s unfortunate we didn’t get the win. That’s the one thing I wanted.”
Adam McQuaid working out
Adam McQuaid missed his second straight game because of an undisclosed injury. He hasn’t skated since suffering the injury last Saturday against Toronto when he pivoted and pursued a puck. McQuaid rode the bike on Thursday morning. He will not play against Ottawa on Friday and his status for the rest of the road trip is unknown . . . Nathan Horton did not travel to Boston with the Blue Jackets. The ex-Bruin is still recovering from shoulder surgery. Horton might not be ready until next month. “When it gets closer, when we get a week away or a few days away, it will be something I’ll have to think about a lot more,” Richards said . . . Defenseman Torey Krug played his second straight game on the right side. The lefthanded-shooting Krug saw time on his off side last season in Providence as Garnet Exelby’s partner. “I like everything about the right side better,” Krug said . . . Loui Eriksson scored his third goal. Eriksson was in front when Chara’s point shot deflected off his foot and into the net in the second period. Eriksson had gained net-front position on Fedor Tyutin . . . Jordan Caron was the healthy scratch.