Sportsnet's Friedman: Russ Brandon leading Sabres GM Search

Sportsnet's Friedman: Russ Brandon leading Sabres GM Search
Posted at 12:24 AM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 12:37:51-04

Terry and Kim Pegula are 10 days into their search for the next general manager and head coach of the Sabres, but still no announcement of a hire. 

So far, of the candidates rumored to be on the shortlist to take over the position, 7 Eyewitness Sports Reporter Nick Filipowski has confirmed four candidates have interviewed for the opening in the Queen City: Pittsburgh's Bill Guerin & Jason Botterill, Nashville's Paul Fenton and New Jersey's Tom Fitzgerald.

But, who is running the search?

Sportsnet and NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman dropped this nugget late Sunday night during NHL Now:

"It sounds like it's Russ Brandon, who is the President of the Buffalo Bills and the President Buffalo Sabres," Friedman said. "But, I think the league would have a lot of input on this one."

You can watch the full exchange at the 3:56 mark in the video below.

Friedman clarified his comments Monday morning when he tweeted: "Pegulas lead. Brandon and NHL at his side."

While that certainly tempers things, Brandon's involvement can't be music to Buffalo fan's ears, especially considering the struggles of the Bills as Brandon rose to prominence an executive.

There's no denying Brandon is a master marketer.  But a master football and hockey mind?

As it stands right now, with the firing of Doug Whaley, Brandon is one of the longest-tenured executives in the front office at One Bills Drive having joined the franchise in 1997. His football operations struggles date all the back to assuming the role of GM following the retirement of legendary coach and Hall of Famer Marv Levy.

The Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999.

The Sabres haven't made the postseason since the 2010-2011 season and Brandon has been serving as president of both franchises since 2015 when the Pegulas fired Ted Black.

Brandon joked, as Terry Pegula famously explained during Rex Ryan's introductory press conference in January of 2015, "don't let Rex leave the building," during the interview process.

Ryan was fired two years later.

It's not unheard of for a president to be involved in the search of a general manager, but as the AP reported during the Bills' search for a new head coach in January Brandon was not involved in that process.

Following the firing of Doug Whaley on Sunday, the Pegulas said they'll lead the search for a new GM and Brandon will be asked to help, if needed.

But, after admitting they regretted not being apart of the hiring of Tim Murray four years ago and taking the lead on the search this time around, it'd be odd to lean on somebody with as little hockey expertise as Brandon.

If it's true Brandon is leading the Sabres search, there's a reasonable expectation he'll do more than just help with the Bills.