I hope the Buffalo Sabres can begin reversing their fortunes next season, if for no other incentive than Tim Murray staying on as general manager forever. Unlike so many executives and their vanilla commentary, a Tim Murray presser is typically pure gold.
Whereas the Sabres 2016-17 campaign yet again left fans disenchanted, Wednesday’s 31 minute, 29 second Murray season-ending presser didn’t. It sounds like head coach Dan Blysma will return for a third season (though Murray did not confirm today) but made it evident next year is make-or-break and jobs will be on the line, including Blysma and even his own.
Here’s bullet points of some things Murray hit on:
♦ He said they’re doing an organizational review from top to bottom. He assumes Terry Pegula will let him decide on who is going to be the coach, meaning if Blysma is let go he doesn’t expect it be Pegula pulling the trigger.
♦ Said who is the head coach and the captaincy could be part of the discussions with Jack Eichel concerning his long-term future with the team. “He’s our guy” Murray added. Murray also said that he’s encouraged Eichel to take on more of a leadership role
♦ Said that he thinks the coaches may actually be working a little too hard and watching too much film on non-game days. He suggested the coaches need to spend a little more time coaching individuals instead of coaching the system.
“Maybe they can put a coffee in their hands once in a while and do two hours of video instead of three and get out and get to know our players, talk to our players. It’s about coaching individuals a little more and coaching system a little less.” – Tim Murray
♦ Also threw some shade at the players for performing so poorly coming out of their bye when they were still very much in the playoff picture.
♦ Made it clear that it be will him who determines who’s the Sabres captain going forward.
♦ Said he’s interested in bringing back Brian Gionta, but said it would be on a one-year deal and that the money would have to fit
♦ Was not happy with (Buffalo News reporter) Jon Vogt asking about the health condition of Kyle Okposo—saying the team has no comment for a variety of reasons, and reminds reporters the team is typically forthcoming when it comes to injuries, saying they are more specific than most teams that only use the terms upper or lower body injury.
♦ Liked the job goaltender Robin Lehner did this season. When asked if he’s ready to commit to him long term Murray said that it depends on what his terms (contract demands) are.
♦ Thinks the Sabres need to get much better with puck possession and they can’t be successful as a chip-and-chase team.
♦ While going out of his say that he’s “not trying to shit on the defensemen that are here by any means,” improving the blue line is the team’s biggest need.
♦ Chalks up the Dmitry Kulikov trade as a loss.
♦ Revealed that Notre Dame goaltender and (for the time being) Sabres prospect Cal Peterson hasn’t decided if he’s leaving school yet. Murray said they have talks every day.
♦ Said injuries had plenty to do with went wrong, especially the Eichel and Kane injuries early, but also said blamed himself for not putting the team in position to withstand it.
♦ Said he has to make more demands to Blysma and the coach has to make more demands of the players. Murray also said he has to make more demands to himself and he intends to do that.