Sabres' Murray said today his coach is Dan Bylsma

April 12, 2017 - 12:24 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Tim Murray had his season wrap up press conference on Wednesday and realizes that this season did not meet expectations. He opened with, “I stand here and take full responsibility for our position and how it finished.”

I think the biggest topic on everybody’s mind is what is he going to do with Dan Bylsma? Murray said, “As I say every day, he’s my coach today and I’m the General Manager today.”

“There’s going to be a review top to bottom, I have to meet with ownership next week in Florida, I’m sure I’m going to be reviewed and after that, I’ll come back and if am still here, I’ll deliver my thoughts to our head coach and our coaching staff.”

“I am the General Manager today, he is the coach today, I haven’t had any thoughts of firing him up to this point and the reason I always say today is something could happen tomorrow, so he’s the coach, yes”

If you’re thinking Terry Pegula is going to bring Murray down to Florida and make ultimatums, you’re wrong. He never did that to Doug Whaley or Rex Ryan and it’s not his style. Murray doesn’t anticipate that either, "He lets me do my thing here. He’s never asked me to make a trade or to fire a coach or anything like that, so I'm going to continue to assume that, that's my decision."

Tim Murray is constantly on any coach that he has. It just is the way he is. Murray will have complaints with any coach and this one is no different, “One of my complaints is we worry way too much about the opposition and I think we should worry more about what going on in this building.”

The coaches work extremely hard and I see them. They’re in here at 7 in the morning and they leave at night and that’s a non game day. The video that they do and the preparation is exhausting and it’s every detail and I do have an opinion and think that sometimes maybe they’re stuck in that room preparing and working hard, but maybe they can put a coffee in their hand once in a while and do two hours of video instead of three and get out and get to know our players and talk to our players.”

“It’s about coaching individuals as little more and coaching system a little less. That’s my opinion and I believe that’s the right way.”

As I listened to Murray and as I listened back to him to write this article, I think that may be a big message he got from players the past two days, poor communication between coach and players.

It only makes sense in my mind from the things players have been telling me all season. It also makes sense why they can’t seem to play the way they’re asked to. Murray added, “We have to be clearer in our message, all of us and the players want black and white and that comes to team rules, that comes to team schedules, that comes to team style of play, that comes to role on your team and that comes to being a Buffalo Sabre and that doesn’t just fall on the coach, that falls on me and it falls on the players.”

“It goes with rules, the way we practice, we have to make more demands. I have to make more demands of Dan, Dan has to make more demands of players, I have to make more demands of myself and we intend to do that.”

Not all the players met with Murray on Monday. Some meeting were saved until today, “I met with Jack today and we talk about the team and we talked about this year and yes, he’s our guy, so we’re allowed to start talking contract extension on July 1st and I don’t know why we wouldn’t.”

“He wants to be a leader, he wants to take more of a leadership role, I encouraged him to do that. There was talk of coach and system and I had that talk with every player because I demanded that topic come up.”

Fans have expressed concern to me that Eichel is already getting tired of Buffalo and will want out. Murray said the opposite message was told to him, “I asked him point blank if he liked Buffalo and if he liked what was going on here and he said he did. He’s very frustrated that we’re not a playoff team and I made a promise to him that I would do the best that I could to make the team around him better and that we will be a long-term playoff team.”

I think it’s hard for some players to take responsibility so it’s easier to blame the coach than it is to admit that it’s them. Murray said, “With players the more they win, the more they pay attention, the more demands you make of them, the more they pay attention, the more accountability there is, the more they pay attention so we’re not at that point yet, but where’s the accountability of the players when we come out of the break and we can’t beat anybody.”

“I can’t blame the coaches 100 percent for that and I can’t take all the blame for that, but sometimes a player has to take some of the blame too.”

“I think the players have legitimate gripes about the coach, I think players have legitimate gripes about the way our team is built and I think the players have gripes that aren’t legitimate and are excuses.”

In a few other things, Murray said he’s open to bringing back Brian Gionta on a one year deal.

He said Cal Petersen hasn’t decided if he’s leaving Notre Dame a year early yet and he said Russian defenseman Viktor Antipin is still playing in the KHL playoffs.

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