Kim Pegula: This isn’t a rebuild

Earlier on Tuesday, the Sabres announced that they relieved Jason Botterill of his duties. They had also let go of two assistant GMs.

The biggest thing most fans probably want to know is what changed from three weeks ago when Kim Pegula said Botterill would be returning for his 4th season.

The AP’s John Wawrow got right to it and asked the Pegulas the question right off the bat.

Kim Pegula said she did not regret that statement from three weeks ago.

“It gave us a little more time to start digging and planning for the future. That’s what changed in those 3 weeks.” – Kim Pegula

It sounds more like they just changed their mind, but take that how you want. Terry added that they used this uncertain time to start really looking at this team.

What’s more surprising than what had changed in those 3 weeks might be what Kim Pegula said toward the end of the call:

“We don’t think this is a rebuild. We have a lot already here foundationally to start from and that’s what we’re looking forward to. WHETHER IT’S 1,2,3 YEARS, we will be in a better place.” – Kim Pegula

This isn’t a rebuild!? That’s going to be possible at least 12 years without playoffs!

I’ll come back to that.

Terry talked about some of what went wrong with Botterill lately, although he didn’t make all of it very clear.

“When we were in detailed discussions with Jason, and how to move forward, we felt that there were too many differences in opinion. Since we had more time, it would be best for us to make this change.” – Terry Pegula

Terry was pressed for an example of what those differences in opinion might be, and a couple of times throughout the press conference, Terry mentioned the word “enthusiastically.”

“We’re looking forward enthusiastically to the success of this franchise and that’s the most important thing we need to accomplish this offseason.”  – Terry Pegula

If you’ve been watching the Sabres for the last 9 years, you should understand how difficult it is to be positive in any sense about the future of this team. This is 100% a near-decade-long rebuild and it will continue until they make the playoffs.

Terry added that communication was also a big issue in recent years, which is far more important than the enthusiastic approach he mentioned:

“Communication is one of the biggest issues. We believe in open communication, and sometimes that breaks down. Our goal is to enthusiastically face the future with our new regime here.” – Terry Pegula

After 3 years with Tim Murray, and then 3 years with Jason Botterill, what kind of faith can fans have in this franchise moving forward? That’s a question that Mike Harrington asked during the press conference, and also called this a scattershot decision to the Pegulas’ faces.

Kim and Terry really dodged the question and just said they were going to keep trying. They said they feel the same frustration, but they’re going to keep trying. It took a few tries on the Bills side, and they’re going to keep trying and they feel Kevyn Adams is the right person.

“We have known Kevyn for nine years and he kept rising up the ladder. He’s a very knowledgable and passionate person. This isn’t some scattershot decision that we made.” – Terry Pegula

Terry also talked about how they do not plan on hiring a President of Hockey Operations.

“We feel that with the few pieces we have in place, that we have this 100% open plan of communication. I don’t believe in that philosophy, anyway” – Terry

Ralph Krueger continued to be extremely proud of his position and the players. He emphasized how well he thinks this team will be despite last year’s results.

“I’m very proud to continue. There’s a lot of emotions attached, but all that matters now is the actions we make moving forward.” – Krueger

Kevyn Adams was excited to get going and already has a great relationship with Krueger.

“I’ve heard Ralph say it. He feels this is a team of players that buys in. As a former player, when you have a buy-in to a coach, great things can happen. So it’s up to us to find those pieces of the puzzle.”


Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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