#Bylsmawatch

From left, Sabres general manager Tim Murray, coach Dan Bylsma and owner Terry Pegula hold up a No. 15 Bylsma jersey Thursday. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – There was a time before the Sabres hired Dan Bylsma on Thursday that the coach and general manager Tim Murray both represented the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Back in the early 2000s, as Bylsma finished up his journeyman playing career, Murray was the team’s director of player personnel.

“I complained about him a lot,” Murray cracked Thursday during a news conference to introduce Bylsma as the Sabres’ 17th coach in franchise history. “That’s about all I remember.”

Given their different roles, the …

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Dan Bylsma is the 17th coach in Sabres history. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres finally have a new coach. The rebuilding team today named Dan Bylsma, a 2009 Stanley Cup winner, the 17th coach in franchise history.

The 44-year-old Bylsma, who spent Wednesday visiting with the Sabres, will be formally introduced at a 4 p.m. news conference at the First Niagara Center.

Update: Bylsma has a five-year contract, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula went big again, bringing in perhaps the most notable name left on the market. …

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Dan Bylsma coached Pittsburgh from 2009 until 2014. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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One day in 2009-10, Dan Bylsma, then in his first full season as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ coach, had an odd request for Jay McKee, one of the NHL’s top shot blockers for years.

“He actually asked me not to block as many shots,” McKee, a popular former Buffalo Sabres defenseman, said by phone Tuesday.

One of McKee’s recent blocks had deflected into the net, so Bylsma, who will reportedly interview with the Sabres this week, told the gritty veteran to get out …

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Tim Murray has been pursuing other coaching candidates.. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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New Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said today he never agreed to a deal to coach the Buffalo Sabres and didn’t use the team as leverage before signing an eight-year contract worth a reported $50 million with Toronto.

Multiple media outlets have reported the Sabres thought they landed Babcock earlier this week and were livid when he went to Toronto on Wednesday.

“I talked to lots of teams, and when you’re talking to teams, negotiation is in that process,” Babcock said this …

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Dan Bylsma coached Pittsburgh six seasons. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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In a not-so-surprising development, the Buffalo Sabres have received permission from the Pittsburgh Penguins to interview Dan Bylsma about their coaching vacancy, according to ESPN.com’s Craig Custance.

Bylsma coached the Penguins six seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 before getting fired in 2014. The 44-year-old is still under contract with the Penguins.

In an interview with WGR this afternoon, Sabres general manager Tim Murray wouldn’t confirm the report.

The Sabres’ main target, Mike Babcock, picked the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. The …

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Mike Babcock was introduced as Toronto's coach today. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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New Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said today he never agreed to a deal to coach the Buffalo Sabres and didn’t use the team as leverage before signing an eight-year contract worth a reported $50 million with Toronto.

“I talked to lots of teams, and when you’re talking to teams, negotiation is in that process,” Babcock said this morning during his introductory news conference at the Air Canada Centre. “The hardest thing for the media to do was to figure out …

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Mike Babcock has an eight-year contract from Toronto. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As decision day approached, it appeared Mike Babcock, the prized free agent coach, had whittled his choices down to two teams: Detroit, where he had spent 10 seasons guiding the Red Wings, or the rebuilding Sabres, a team stocked with young talent and willing to break to the bank.

By most accounts, the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of about five teams Babcock had spoken to, had fallen out of the picture.

But the Leafs, the Sabres’ closest and fiercest rival, …

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Mike Babcock got a reported $50 million from Toronto. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As decision day approached, it appeared Mike Babcock, the prized free agent coach, had whittled his choices down to two teams: Detroit, where he had spent 10 seasons guiding the Red Wings, or the rebuilding Sabres, a team stocked with young talent and willing to break to the bank.

By most accounts, the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of about five teams Babcock had spoken to, had fallen out of the picture by Tuesday.

But the Leafs, the Sabres’ closest and …

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The Sabres had a strong interest in Mike Babcock. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres are out of the running for coach Mike Babcock, TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted early this afternoon.

Update: The Toronto Maple Leafs, a team thought to be out of the sweepstakes just a day ago, have signed Babcock to a stunning eight-year deal worth around $50 million, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friendman and ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun also tweeted the hiring.

Update: The Leafs have officially announced the signing.

Here’s more:

Sources say Mike Babcock has been …

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Mike Babcock has coached Detroit since 2005. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The Mike Babcock sweepstakes is almost over, and the coveted coach could join the Sabres as soon as Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, the Sabres and Babcock negotiated by phone today.

When reached by the Detroit Free Press and asked if he was leaving the Red Wings, the team he has coached since 2005, Babcock replied, “Not sure, know by morning.” He gave no further comment.

It’s believed the Sabres have offered Babcock, who visited with Buffalo owners Terry and …

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