Krys Barch (left) fights Shawn Thortnton while with Florida. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Adam Mair, Krys Barch as player development coaches

BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired former hard-nosed NHL forwards Adam Mair and Krys Barch as player development coaches, the team announced today.

Mair compiled 38 goals, 114 points and 829 penalty minutes in 12 NHL seasons before retiring in from professional hockey in 2012. The 36-year-old played 615 NHL games, including 498 over seven seasons with the Sabres. Mair also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils. He ... Read the full article

Former Sabres defenseman Philippe Boucher watched most of Pittsburgh's 2009 run to the Stanley Cup. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dan Bylsma’s toughest coaching decision

The two friends met again under unusual circumstances.

It was February 2009, and Dan Bylsma, a 38-year-old rookie coach, was beginning the arduous task of replacing Michel Therrien and saving the sinking Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup hopes. His oldest defenseman, 36-year-old Philippe Boucher, was injured and months away from retirement.

A decade earlier, as Los Angeles Kings teammates, the two had grown close. Boucher greatly respected Bylsma, who carved out a solid career as a ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel had a lot of media interest Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Future Sabres pick Jack Eichel won’t apologize for possessing confidence

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel, of course, never expected his words would leak out. The superstar was simply expressing some confidence in his special abilities during pre-draft interviews this week.

Eichel told teams, including the Sabres, who will select the 18-year-old second overall on June 26, he plans on being a better player than Connor McDavid, arguably the biggest prospect in decade.

Was it cocky? Sure. But the slick Boston University center wasn’t taking a dig ... Read the full article

The Sabres gave the Penguins a third-round pick for Dan Bylsma. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Draft pick Sabres sent Penguins for Bylsma keeps offer sheet options open

BUFFALO – The 2016 third-round pick the Sabres sent the Pittsburgh Penguins as compensation for coach Dan Bylsma briefly held up the team officially announcing the deal Thursday.

What happened?

General manager Tim Murray said assistant GM Mark Jakubowski alerted him the Sabres wouldn’t have the necessary picks to pursue restricted free agents with an offer sheet if they gave the Penguins their own selection. Teams must send their own picks as compensation if the ... Read the full article

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

Dan Bylsma had eye on Sabres job

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 ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma is the 17th coach in Sabres history. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Updated with quotes: Sabres name Dan Bylsma coach

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 ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma coached Pittsburgh from 2009 until 2014. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jay McKee believes Dan Bylsma would be good fit to coach Sabres

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, ... Read the full article

Tim Murray speaks Sunday after firing Ted Nolan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Plenty of interesting names could be available to coach Sabres

BUFFALO – For the first time since the Sabres replaced Ted Nolan following his initial run almost 18 years ago, the team must search for a new coach.

Yes, it has really been that long.

Lindy Ruff, Nolan’s replacement in 1997, lasted until 2013, when former Sabres general manager Darcy Regier quickly promoted Ron Rolston from Rochester as interim coach. Regier removed the interim tag following the season without interviewing anyone.

Nolan immediately took... Read the full article