Farewell to the kooky character we dubbed GMTM.
Farewell to The Tank, as ugly a saga as there has been in the history of Buffalo sports.
Hockey Heaven? Next case.
The word you hear is there’s plenty of interest in NHL circles to get in line and be a replacement for Tim Murray. This franchise is now so broken and so bereft of anyone with any idea how to operate it, lots of folks think it won’t be that hard to do better.
As unseemly as it is, it was apparent that the Sabres’ players were going to get their wish and torpedo Dan Bylsma. Murray did that himself with last week’s outlandish news conference that buried his coach, something you just never see. Maybe Terry and Kim Pegula didn’t like that look and decided they had seen enough of Murray too.
Murray sure seemed to sense he was on shaky ground last week, and the continued rise of the Toronto Maple Leafs has to be a burr in the side of the team’s owners. Still, his sacking on Thursday rates right there with the 2013 firing of Lindy Ruff as perhaps the most stunning in franchise history.
And as for Jack Eichel and agent Peter Fish? Their denials seem pretty hollow now.
The Pegulas have never understood optics since they’ve been here and that certainly was the case again Thursday. Firing both Bylsma and Murray one day after the Eichel firestorm erupted paints their star player as a coach killer — and now maybe even a GM killer! And that’s really unfair. Eichel said a lot of the right things Wednesday to John Vogl of The News and there seemed to be a lot of sincerity in his words.
But the actions of the owners seem to indicate there were other words spoken as well. And if Boston University’s David Quinn is hired as the new coach, you may as well not have a general manager and give Eichel that job too. How much pandering to the whims of a 20-year-old can one franchise do?
It’s hard to say what happened to Murray this season. He flat-out froze at times, as if he felt this was another development year and it wasn’t playoffs-or-bust. Given his contract extension in October, maybe that’s how he felt. Murray didn’t make any trades early in the season when Eichel got hurt, didn’t fire Bylsma during the season when it could have been justified, got nothing done at the trade deadline either.
Murray probably deserved another season to try to fix things, especially on defense. But it’s known the Pegulas, especially Kim, have often cringed about his style since he was hired in 2014. Other GMs may have been put off as well. League officials, especially officiating supervisors, could not have been happy with the way they were berated by Murray at times either.
Plenty of national types agreed with this corner’s view that Rasmus Ristolainen’s three-game suspension was excessive. So was the onerous schedule of road games the Sabres got in 2015-16. It seemed like a lot of…