Sabres fire their Director of Player Performance

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The Sabres haven’t performed very well this season and their Director of Player Performance is getting the boot. Oliver Finlay, who was in his first year with the Sabres, has been relieved of his duties, per the Buffalo News.

Hiring Finlay didn’t come cheap, as he reportedly signed a long-term contract worth roughly $4 million dollars to join the club. The former freelance physical therapist had previous experience in soccer, swimming, rugby, tennis and Formula One racing, but he didn’t have much prior experience in the hockey world.

Here’s an excerpt from the Buffalo News story:

After significant personality conflicts and occasional pushback from players, the Sabres have fired the director of player performance, Oliver Finlay. He failed to make it through the first season of a long-term deal that was worth $4 million, according to two sources. It was clearly an unexpected departure for the British-educated Finlay, who purchased a $975,000 home overlooking Delaware Park in the fall.

The nutrition plan put in place by Finlay’s performance department hit a snag with players early in the season. While the smell of pizza and wings often wafts near the visitors’ room after games, Buffalo’s players were discouraged from indulging in savory snacks. The policy was later eased.

There also have been setbacks suffered by rehabilitating players, most notably goaltender Robin Lehner and defenseman Cody Franson.

As much as withholding savory snacks is just wrong, Finlay’s real problem was that he clashed with several long-time Sabres employees. Also, if you’re going to play hard ball with the players, you should probably make sure your rehabilitation methods work.