'The key is once the ownership issue is settled or close to being settled, it will allow the team to sell itself – the on-ice product – to the average fan. The fact that the Maislin/Bassin group is saying the Sabres will remain in Buffalo for the long term helps. "Those are all positive messages," Migala said. "But, for all that, what will really fuel sales is talking about the on-ice product and action."'
'"There are a number of factors that need to be addressed to get the team on solid footing, but we're certainly not intimidated by it. We have a handle on what needs to be done. It's challenging, but by no means overwhelming."'
'Confirming his interest in purchasing the financially troubled Buffalo Sabres hockey team, B. Thomas Golisano said Friday any buyer should consider a "community owned" team, like the NFL's Green Bay Packers.'
'Bassin maintains the investment group has made him no promises of future employment, should it be successful in landing the Sabres. But clearly that's what he'd like.'
'"There is not timetable set, however," Bassin said. "You put yourself in a dangerous position when you say tomorrow or something like that, but we'd like to think we're getting to the point where we're getting to the stage where we can get it done. But it's not an issue of just handing in an offer. It's got to be accepted, and that takes a lot of scrutiny on their part. And there's going to be others."'
Golisano certainly would bring deep pockets to the Sabres. The billionaire chairman of Paychex Inc. in Rochester already has spent about $14 million for his gubernatorial bid.
'''He has had some serious discussions about buying the Sabres,'' Golisano's chief political strategist Roger Stone said Wednesday. ''I don't think he's decided whether or not he wants to make a bid. He is considering it."'
'He said he would be looking for his investment to be no more than a "break-even" proposition that he might want to convert to public ownership to assure that the team stays in Buffalo.'
'The Bassin/Maislin group has emerged as the early frontrunner to purchase the team, which is in dire financial straits after the collapse of owner Adelphia Communications. And that bodes well for Nolan, who has a long-standing relationship with Bassin, who currently runs the Ontario Hockey League champion Erie Otters. Nolan won two OHL titles and a national championship coaching the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds when Bassin owned that team in the early 1990s, and he could barely contain his excitement a few days ago when asked about the possibility of Bassin's group, which is said to include former Sabres star Pat Lafontaine, buying the team.'
'The Sabres are hoping to score big when it comes to their upcoming marketing campaign, one part is expected to feature prominent Buffalonians who already have season tickets encouraging others to get theirs, and the Buffalo Partnership is launching a "Business Backs the Sabres" effort to sell the 12 and 1/2 vacant luxury suites and help with those season tickets sales.'
'Peca told Eyewitness News reporter John Kosich, "You certainly wonder about the terms 'we'll show you the books' when it comes to negotiations and all that. I mean obviously that's not a very credible source of information anymore."'
Sometime this week, a group of investors headed by OHL Erie owner Sherry Bassin will make a bid for the Sabres. The Buffalo News reports the group could include former Sabres star Pat LaFontaine.
'Clearly, the Sabres have been plagued by a chicken-egg problem: Prospective season-ticket buyers want to see the team's ownership clarified, but potential new owners want to see a stronger ticket base. Which comes first? Probably a dramatic hike in ticket sales.'
'If Bassin buys the team, there's a darned good chance one Ted Nolan will be back behind the Sabres' bench, smart suits and all. You looking for percentages? Try roughly 99.99 percent Nolan will return to Buffalo this season.'
'The Buffalo Sabres have signed forwards Francois Methot and Jason Botterill to contracts.'