When Terry Pegula bought the Sabres in 2011 he declared the sole existence of the franchise was to win a Stanley Cup.
Thursday, in a stunning move, he fired General Manager Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma.
The departure of Bylsma was expected and this team wasn’t without it's flaws, which Murray admitted during his end of season press conference last week.
But with the developments Thursday do Terry and Kim have any idea how to run a pro franchise?
Make no mistake – the work and the economic rebirth they’ve been a part of in Buffalo has been great – HOWEVER – the honey moon in a championship-starved town is officially over.
Blysma, like Rex Ryan with the Bills, was a big splashy, headline-grabbing hire. Like Ryan, he’s being paid to no longer coach after only two years.
Terry also famously said back in 2011 that if he wanted to make money “he’d dig a gas well.”
Start digging, Terry.
Dating back to Doug Marrone, who chose to walk away from the Bills after strong-arming the franchise with a $4 million out clause if they got a new owner, Terry and Kim have/are now going to be paying roughly $30 million over the next three years (time remaining on both Bylsma’s and Ryan’s contract) to keep Bylsma and Ryan away from their respective teams.
A couple of big questions I have to the owners ahead of Friday’s press conference?
1 – Do you know what you’re doing?
The Sabres weren’t a basement dweller when the Pegulas took over in 2011 with Lindy Ruff at the helm. They were still respectable and a perennial postseason contender.
After the strike-shortened season, it was straight to the bottom. Don’t believe for one second Murray took it upon himself to have this franchise purposely suck for the better part of two seasons. The Pegulas gave the order, and Murray executed it.
Was it worth it? Did it work? Remains to be seen.
Now the next GM coming in has even more work to do: Expansion draft, draft and Jack Eichel’s contract.
2 – How much input did Jack Eichel have in the final decision?
It was clear all season there was a disconnect between Bylsma and the locker room. It showed for 82 games.
The Sabres were the top power play team in the NHL this season, and Jack Eichel could have just made the biggest power play in franchise history with getting a coach run after two years in the league.
While he more than likely was speaking for the team, his opinion and his alone matters (sorry and much respect to the other guys in the room).
Buffalo went straight to bottom to get to the top and handed Jack the keys to the franchise with the 2nd overall pick in 2015.
If there’s a tank, he’s driving it.
3 – How do you fire GMTM and not Doug Whaley?
It’s one of the most perplexing moves in Buffalo sports history and one we’re going to talking about for a good long while.
If the roster is an indictment to fire Murray, especially after an extension six months ago, why is Doug Whaley still employed?
Terry isn’t fond of speaking with the media. It’s not his forte. He needs to prepared to answer tough questions on Friday – not just for the media – but for fans, who clearly deserve better from their owners.