Terry Pegula wants to be involved in the Sabres’ search for a new general manager. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres owner Terry Pegula wants culture change

BUFFALO – Before Sabres owner Terry Pegula, and his wife, Kim, spoke in depth with Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma, they hadn’t decided to fire their former general manager and coach.

But after those meetings and talks with players and others in the organization, the Pegulas decided the Sabres needed a massive overhaul following a last-place finish, so Murray and Bylsma were fired Thursday.

What made them reach that decision?

“(We) decided our organization needed more discipline, structure and communication to be successful,” Pegula said this morning in a rare news conference.

Pegula mentioned character, communication, discipline and structure throughout the 14 minutes he stood at a podium in the KeyBank Center atrium.

“Those things are all something you need in your leaders,” he said.

Bylsma’s firing, Pegula said, wasn’t a result of young star Jack Eichel’s reported frustration with his former coach. WGR reported Eichel wouldn’t sign a contract extension if Bylsma stayed.

“I don’t know where those stories come from, that’s ridiculous,” Pegula said. “Jack’s involvement as it was reported … is a complete fabrication.”

So what do the Sabres want in their next GM?

“Experience is going to be key in our search,” Pegula said.

There are reports the Sabres have already interviewed former Kings GM Dean Lombardi, which Pegula denied.

“We haven’t talked to anybody,” he said. “Put that in the Jack demanded his coach be fired category. It’s a pure fabrication.”

Expect Pegula to be involved in finding a new GM.

“I was not involved in the last GM/coach search,” he said. “To a large extent, I regret that, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

What’s Pegula’s timeline for a hire?

“We’re going to move as quickly and efficiently as we can,” he said.

The Sabres also fired director of pro scouting Rob Murphy and director of amateur scouting Greg Royce. Pegula said Jeff Crisp will replace Royce and several people will replace Murphy.

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