In case you missed it earlier this week, the Buffalo Sabres fired General Manager Jason Botterill and replaced him with the team's Senior Vice President of Business Administration Kevyn Adams.
Check it out:
In fact, Sabres have cleaned house firing assistant general managers Randy Sexton and Steve Greely, as well. The team's AHL affiliate Rochester Americans have been gutted as well. In total, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports that 22 staff members have been dismissed by Sabres owners Kim and Terry Pegula.
In his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, Friedman reported on some "behind the scenes" info regarding the firings and... well let's just say it's not pretty.
Check it out:
Ignore your bosses at your own peril. But, this mass beheading (22 people, for now) affected people without security. People who breathed easier with the vote of confidence, taking it as a sign that they would be safe during an incredibly difficult time to find employment. Botterill had two years remaining on his contract. I believe the same goes for assistant GMs Randy Sexton and Steve Greeley. But, according to multiple sources, verbally agreed-to extensions for at least player development coach Krys Barch and AHL Rochester coach Chris Taylor (two years) were approved by Botterill, delayed by ownership, and will not be honoured. All of sudden, they are not employed, and if you are let go from a team, you can lose your health coverage (a bigger problem in the United States than Canada). I think that’s cruel and wrong.
The other thing that happened in Buffalo was the Pegulas did a top-to-bottom review of their organization. It was, from what I understand, very in-depth. They went over everyone’s schedule. How many games did you see? Where did you go? There is word they considered some of those schedules “light.”
Another exec said an agent told him he was having a conversation with Botterill about a Buffalo free agent minutes before the Sabres announced the firing.
Yikes... that all sounds UGLY.
Perhaps the most embarassing part though... the Pegulas reportedly got so "fire-happy" that they let go of the wrong guy.
Again from Friedman:
One bit of good news: Buffalo’s head of hockey department IT, Kyle Kiebzak, was re-hired after initially being fired. His termination apparently was a mistake.
Wow... you really can't make this stuff up. What a circus.
NHL insider Elliotte Friedman shares some pretty damning behind the scenes stories.
The truth is though that Sabres fans have been calling for Botterill's head since the season officially ended for the Sabres in May. Well... careful what you wish for, Sabres fans. Not only is Botterill now out, but the entire organization is effectively out.
Botterill was a high profile signing by the Sabres when he was hired in May of 2017. He had spent the previous decade with the Pittsburgh Penguins in various executive roles and was even the team's interim general manager in 2014 before the hiring of Jim Rutherford. Botterill was seen as a hot shot, can't miss hiring by the Sabres just three years ago. But in his three years with the club he failed to address many of the team's shortcomings, even compounding matter in some cases with bad trades and questionable signings.
"We have the benefit of this long 2020 pause to take time to reorganize and re-energize our hockey department," the Pegulas said in a prepared statement. "We recognize the importance of this offseason with so many player decisions to be made."
As for Adams, the former NHLer who played 546 career games split between the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, has been in the Sabres organization since 2011. "New General Manager Kevyn Adams and Head Coach Ralph Krueger already have a close working relationship and we are excited to see what they can do together as we reconfigure our hockey operations," the Pegulas statement went on the read.
Read below for the full statement:
The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has relieved Jason Botterill of his duties as General Manager.
Senior Vice President of Business Administration Kevyn Adams has been named General Manager.
"This morning, we informed Jason Botterill he will no longer be the General Manager of the Sabres. This decision was made after many candid discussions with Jason during a full review of our hockey operation. We recognized we have philosophical differences regarding how best to put ourselves in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup. So, we decided to make this change.
"We wish Jason and his family all the best moving forward, and we thank him for his time and energy devoted to our organization and to the City of Buffalo.
"New General Manager Kevyn Adams and Head Coach Ralph Krueger already have a close working relationship and we are excited to see what they can do together as we reconfigure our hockey operations. We have the benefit of this long 2020 pause to take time to reorganize and re-energize our hockey department. We recognize the importance of this offseason with so many player decisions to be made.
"We have had the pleasure of watching Kevyn build his post-playing career over the past nine years under multiple roles throughout our organizations. We are confident Kevyn and Ralph will work together to build a consistent contender. As always, we are here to provide the necessary resources.
"Our fans deserve better, and we are all tasked with the burden to improve and provide them a consistent, contending team for years to come."
-Terry and Kim Pegula, Owners, Buffalo Sabres