The recent decision to fire 22 people including Jason Botterill and Chris Taylor perfectly highlights how bad things are for the Buffalo Sabres franchise.
In the grand scheme of things, i.e. compared to what’s going on in the world right now, things aren’t that bad for the Buffalo Sabres. However, purely from a professional sports perspective, the franchise is a mess.
When the NHL announced their return-to-play plan, the Sabres were officially eliminated from the playoffs. As a result they have now missed the postseason in nine consecutive years, which is the longest active streak in the league.
When this happened, you knew there had to be changes, but even the manner in which these took place helped to highlight the dire situation within the franchise. The prime example would be the decision to fire Jason Botterill from his position of general manager, just three weeks after being given a vote of confidence from Kim Pegula.
As reported by Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News, Terry Pegula said a disconnect emerged after he had detailed conversations with Botterill and informed him his hockey operations department would need to become leaner. However, this contrasted with comments shortly after Botterill received his vote of confidence, with him telling the Associated Press he had not been given any financial directives.
As per Lysowski, Pegula didn’t want to specifically criticize Botterill, instead sticking to a general point that there was a difference of vision. For his part, the now former Sabres’ general manager has not publicly discussed his firing.
In this respect, we may never find out exactly what happened. However, it certainly seems like there is an issue with communication and trust within the franchise.
Along these lines, Amerks head coach Chris Taylor advised he was fired without any explanation. As per Bill Hoppe of Buffalo Hockey Beat, Taylor said new Sabres’ general manager Kevyn Adams told him he was being let go in a call which lasted less than a minute.
Taylor certainly deserved better than this, especially after being with the Amerks in some capacity in 17 of the last 21 seasons. He led the team to two straight playoff appearances and had them in positive for a third consecutive year, prior to the AHL season being suspended and ultimately cancelled.
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Overall, Taylor had a 116-65-33 record as head coach of the Amerks. Understandably he was stunned, but maybe he will be better off in the long run given the lack of respect the Sabres showed him.
As per TSN‘s Frank Seravalli, in total 22 members of the Buffalo Sabres were fired. Seravalli captured the mood perfectly, by describing it as a bloodletting that may be unprecedented in NHL history.
The Pegulas said they need the franchise to be learner and save money, to help cope with increased financial struggles in trying times. This was highlighted by the scouting staff of 21 being reduced to just seven.
There has been some unfounded speculation that Jack Eichel has too much of an influence in the franchise. However, we would like to believe that seasoned business professionals such as the Pegulas would not let a 23-year-old youngster determine the direction of the Sabres.
We know the Pegulas have the ability to turn things around, when you consider the positive direction taken by the Buffalo Bills since they bought the team. Regardless, this doesn’t change the fact the Sabres are in a mess right now, with the organisation desperately searching for a glimmer of hope that better days are ahead.
What do you make of all the recent moves by the Buffalo Sabres? Are you optimistic the franchise will turn things around soon, or do you predict they will continue to struggle for the foreseeable future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.