BUFFALO – Dan Bylsma let it slip. Instead of waiting for the press release to come out, the new Sabres coach announced the first two assistants to his staff – veteran NHL coach Terry Murray and Dave Barr – during a news conference this morning.
“We didn’t save the release for this afternoon,” Bylsma joked inside the First Niagara Center.
Murray, Sabres general manager Tim Murray’s uncle, spent 15 seasons as an NHL head coach. The 64-year-old, a veteran of 302 games as an NHL defenseman, coached Philadelphia’s AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley last season.
“A ton of experience in both guys,” Bylsma said. “Terry is a guy who’s been a head coach in this league. He’s been an assistant coach in this league. He’s been a head coach at the American Hockey League level. He’s coached with and under some other great coaches in other great systems, organizations. Terry’s bringing that to our team. I think it’s going to be a huge part of our development for our players, especially our defensemen.”
Barr, meanwhile, spent the last seven seasons as an NHL assistant, including the past four in New Jersey. The 54-year-old played 614 NHL games. He previously served as a head coach in the IHL and Ontario Hockey League.
“A guy I think is going to bring a lot to our team on the special teams,” Bylsma said.
In other news, Bylsma said he hasn’t decided whether to keep goalie coach Arturs Irbe, a Ted Nolan hire last year. Bylsma said he has no timetable for the rest of his staff.