Sabres alum sound off on state of the franchise

Posted at 6:53 PM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 20:14:29-04

The reactions to firing both General Manager Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma have been mixed.

Some are surprised both got the ax while others believed owners Terry and Kim Pegula would fire at least one following a poor season in which the Blue & Gold missed the playoffs by a whopping 17 points.

Former Sabres great Mike Robitaille said it's a bold, aggressive move by the Pegulas and not one they would make without having a plan all ready in place.

He also said it might be time to hire a "hockey czar" to oversee the hockey operations.

"It'd be the best money you ever spent in your life is to get that ultimate guy that can just come in and shut everybody up, shut the doors and sit down and this is the way it's going to be," Robitaille told 7 Eyewitness Sports.

"It's beautiful control at the end of the day, it's great for the ownership. They have somebody who has their hand around the neck of the situation.   The players know it, so don't come crying to me players about the GM or the head coach because they're staying here for a while."

But for former Sabres net-minder and current NHL analyst Martin Biron, he believed the move to fire both the GM and coach came too early.

"I think it's jumping the gun a little bit and it may come from the pressure, from the simple fact that you're seeing other teams that have made the changes and have found the right people and had success," Biron said. "Maybe they thought it wasn't working the way they thought it was after two years."

The firing of Byslma marks the second time in four months the Pegula's have shown the door to a head coach.

They axed Rex Ryan and are paying him $5.5 million each of the next three years to no longer coach the Bills and now, they're paying Bylsma $3 million annually for the next three years to no longer coach the Blue and Gold.

So, what's the perception of the Pegulas in NHL circles?

"I think they're trying to figure out what the road, the direction the Pegulas are trying to give for the organization," Biron said.  "They want winners. You can never fault an owner for wanting a winning team. Not a team that'll compete every year but one that'll win a championship.

"They're trying to figure out the way they're going to go about it. and how they're getting the advice they need and how are they studying what's going on. The best owners, you never know what they're thinking. You look at some of the best owners in sports, in the NFL or NHL they do things their way and nobody is going to tell them when they're right, they're right and when they're wrong, they're wrong.  They're going to be doing it on their own time. That's what NHL circles are thinking when it comes to ownership."

Terry Pegula is scheduled to meet with the media Friday morning at 10 a.m.