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Toronto Maple Leafs

Tim Murray has been pursuing other coaching candidates.. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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
0

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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Matt Ellis celebrates his first goal this season Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – It was a pretty goal, the type that can bring fans out of their seats before the puck is even in the net. Basically, it was the kind of goal Sabres center Matt Ellis never scores.

In 351 NHL games, Ellis has only 21 goals. The likable veteran hadn’t scored in 33 appearances this season prior to his nifty highlight-reel winner Wednesday in the Sabres’ 4-3 come-from-behind victory against the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs inside the First Niagara Center.

“Putting …

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T.J. Brennan played 21 games with the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In the beginning, former Sabres prospect T.J. Brennan followed a normal path to the NHL. The high-scoring defenseman developed four seasons in the AHL before briefly cracking the Sabres two years ago.

Back then, Brennan, who grew up in New Jersey playing lacrosse, didn’t fully understand what it took to make the NHL.

“I’ve always been kind of learn as I go,” Brennan said Wednesday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs inside the First Niagara …

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Tyler Ennis (63) jostles with Florida's Brian Campbell earlier this season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sometimes, Sabres winger Tyler Ennis said, he has to realize he’s only 5-foot-5 and not a 6-foot-3 behemoth. Trying to thump a larger opponent usually isn’t the best idea.

Ennis, who’s listed at 5-foot-9, went after someone bigger Thursday and paid the price, suffering an upper-body injury. The Sabres’ top offensive threat missed two games but will return tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Maybe I got to tone down the hits,” Ennis said this morning inside the First Niagara …

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Sabres goalie Anders Lindback tries to stop New Jersey's Steve Bernier (18) with Andre Benoit's (61) help March 20. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Just like that, 29th place – a precarious spot that wouldn’t guarantee the Sabres either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the mega-draft prospects they covet – is back in play.

Sorry, fans, the race isn’t over yet. The Sabres’ 4-1 victory Monday in Arizona moved them to within four points of the Coyotes, who looked awful throughout the night.

The 30th-place Sabres also have a game in hand, so after tonight’s tilt against the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs inside the …

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Anders Lindback made 31 saves Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Let’s start with some positives from the Buffalo Sabres’ 4-3 defeat to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, a game in which they frittered away a late lead and lost in the shootout.

– For one of the few times all season, their No. 1 line performed like, well, a top trio. Center Johan Larsson and wingers Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis all scored three points, the first time three Sabres have compiled three points in a game since Jan. …

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