Free agency time

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Pegula

Carlo Colaiacovo didn't sign a contract until October last year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Two days after signing a one-year contract with the Sabres, Carlo Colaiacovo hadn’t stopped smiling yet, the defenseman said Sunday.

A year ago, Colaiacovo couldn’t find work. As the summer dragged on, the free agent became uneasy. The stress wore on him.

Colaiacovo eventually decided to bolt to a Russian club in the KHL. But the contract took so long to consummate a one-year-deal with Philadelphia materialized in October before he could leave.

The 32-year-old played sporadically with the Flyers, making …

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Ted Black speaks Thursday inside HarborCenter. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As Sabres president Ted Black chatted with the media Thursday inside HarborCenter, the buildings and streets outside the team’s new $170 million multi-rink facility bustled with activity on a sunny spring day.

Team officials and prospects in the city for the NHL Scouting Combine were all over, walking from a new hotel, restaurants and the Canalside developments to the First Niagara Center and HarborCenter.

“I’ve only been here four years,” Black said. “When people say, ‘Nothing ever happens in Buffalo,’ …

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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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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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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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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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Mike Babcock visited the Sabres last week. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Finally, the Mike Babcock watch is almost over, with a decision on his future expected Wednesday.

The Detroit Red Wings coach plans to meet with general manager Ken Holland today before talking with his family tonight, according to MLive.com.

At this point, it appears two teams – the Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres – are vying for Babcock’s services. The 52-year-old, who was given permission to shop his services before his contract expires June 30, visited with Sabres owners Terry and Kim …

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