NHL-Sabres fire both coach Bylsma and GM Murray


April 20 (The Sports Xchange) - The Buffalo Sabres fired general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma on the heels of the team missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season, the club announced Thursday.

The Sabres found themselves in the basement of the Atlantic Division in 2016-17 after posting a 33-37-12 mark.

"After reviewing the past season and looking at the future of our organization, (wife) Kim and I have decided to relieve general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma of their duties," team owner Terry Pegula said in a statement Thursday morning.

"We want to thank Tim and Dan for their hard work and efforts that they have put in during their tenures with the club. We wish them luck. We have begun the process to fill these positions immediately."

Murray, who met with Pegula on Wednesday, has been Buffalo's general manager since January 2014. The 53-year-old said last week that the team's players failed to embrace Bylsma's style and connect with the coach on a personal level, according to the Buffalo News.

The decision to dismiss Bylsma came amid reports of discontent between the coach and star player Jack Eichel. The second-year forward, however, denied trying to force out Bylsma, 46, on Wednesday.

"I want to be here for a long time," Eichel told the Buffalo News. "That's the way I look at it. I don't want to go anywhere else. I don't want anybody to think that I want to be somewhere else. ... I want to be a Sabre and I want to be a Sabre for a long time and I want to be a part of Buffalo when we win. I know it's an organization that is capable of doing that, and I want to be a part of it and I want to be a centerpiece of it."

Bylsma spent the first two seasons of a five-year deal behind the bench in Buffalo. He won the Stanley Cup in his first year with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2008-09) and qualified for the postseason in each of his five campaigns that followed.

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