It was an animated and candid Tim Murray today in Buffalo, where he met with reporters for over half an hour, expressing great frustration over his team’s season.
The Sabres missed the playoffs for a sixth straight year. And despite much higher expectations, they actually finished with fewer points (78) than they did last year (81).
“I just want everybody to know that, top to bottom in the organization, we understand it was a very disappointing season,” said Murray. “I’m the general manager of the team, so I guess that’s the top of the food chain when it comes to hockey. I stand here and take full responsibility for our position, our standings and how it finished.”
For those wondering, the plan right now is for Dan Bylsma to remain as head coach. The only way he might not be is if ownership says otherwise.
“There’s going to be a review, top to bottom,” said Murray. “I have to meet with ownership next week in Florida. I’m sure I’m going to be reviewed. I’m sure I’m being reviewed right now, as I should be.”
When asked to clarify, Murray said he hadn’t had “any thoughts of firing” Bylsma, who still has three years left on his contract.
Murray also has three years left on his contract. Assuming he’s still the GM after meeting with ownership, the one thing he knows he’ll have to address this offseason is the defense.
“I’m not trying to (expletive) on the defensemen that are here by any means,” he said.
But whether it’s via trade or free agency or drafting, Murray intends to explore “any avenue” to improve the blue line, which he blamed for surrendering too many scoring chances and failing to transition the puck well enough.
“Give me an option and I’ll listen,” he said.
For Murray, it’s about demanding more from everyone, from the GM to the coaches to the players.
“We have to make more demands,” he said. “So I have to make more demands of Dan, Dan has to make more demands of the players, I personally have to make more demands of myself. And we intend to do that.”
Related: Major roster holes remain in Buffalo