Sabres sack coach Bylsma, exec Murray
Buffalo (AFP) – General manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma were both fired by the Buffalo Sabres after the NHL club missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, the team announced.
The decision comes on the heels of reports of a rift between former Stanley Cup winning coach Bylsma and 20-year-old forward Jack Eichel, who the Sabres chose in the first round of the 2015 entry draft.
The Sabres finished in the basement of the Atlantic Division in 2016-17 after winning just 37 of 82 regular season games.
“We want to thank Tim and Dan for their hard work and efforts that they have put in during their tenures with the club. We wish them luck. We have begun the process to fill these positions immediately,” said Sabres owner Terry Pegula.
Murray, who met with Pegula on Wednesday, has been Buffalo’s general manager since January 2014.
Pegula said he consulted with his wife, Kim, before making the decision to sack the pair.
“After reviewing the past season and looking at the future of our organization, (wife) Kim and I have decided to relieve general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma of their duties,” he said.
Murray was instrumental in making American Eichel the second pick in the draft behind Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid.
McDavid led the league in scoring this year with 100 points in 82 games and has almost single handedly turned the Edmonton into a playoff contender. The Oilers finally returned to the postseason this year, snapping an 11-year playoff drought.
Bylsma, 46, spent the first two seasons of a five-year deal behind the bench in Buffalo.
He won the Stanley Cup in his first year with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2008-09) and qualified for the postseason in each of his five campaigns that followed.