While the hockey world hasn’t had a ton of news to follow that wasn’t dealing with the pandemic and how to get back to playing, or addressing racial inequalities in the sport, the Buffalo Sabres have been going out of their way to entertain us. Today, they announced that they’ve fired GM Jason Botterill, and are replacing him with Kevyn Adams. Not a big deal, except for the fact that they gave Botterill a vote of confidence just a few days ago. This is a pretty bad look, even for the low bar used to judge the Sabres.
May 26— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) June 16, 2020
“(Jason Botterill) is our GM. Our plan is to continue with him,” owner Kim Pegula told the AP. "We have a little bit more information than maybe a fan does, some inner workings that we see some positives in."
Botterill is fired.
The ownership of this team has just looked absolutely brutal, especially over the last 3 months, as they had to endure a ton of bad press over refusing to take care of employees, nearly whining about having to pause construction of their super yacht, trying to call a players bluff only to see him leave for the KHL, and now this. It’s tough enough dealing with the Canucks level of garbage, but I could not imagine being a fan of a team like the Sabres and how difficult that must be.
"My goals for this organization have not changed." - Terry Pegula when firing Regier in 2013.— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) June 16, 2020
"The plan is to build a stronger organization from top to bottom." - When firing Murray in 2017.
"Every single person, including me, needs to improve on everything we do." - 2018
It’s not that Botterill shouldn’t have been fired. He was terrible at his job, and the Sabres, who have been rebuilding for what seems like decades now are not getting any better anytime soon. It’s the way they do business, and that has a ripple effect, making it harder to sign free agents (especially when they have a talent pool ranked in the bottom half of the NHL). Who would want to sign up for this circus unless they genuinely didn’t care about winning and just wanted a pay cheque?
I've updated my team prospect strength rankings as I had a handful of players still on the teams that drafted them.— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) May 6, 2020
A bit of movement but rankings fall mostly the same as before. https://t.co/2GP0Tjrwsv pic.twitter.com/gQV3135Yfu
And of course, there’s also this:
Jack Eichel calls out Botterill in his interview with the media on zoom. A week later Botterill is gone. After being told he was staying by Kim Pegula. Coincidence? #Sabres— Duane Steinel (@DuaneS39) June 16, 2020
When your star player is unhappy, something usually happens, and since there’s no way in hell they’d be trading him, Botterill was toast.
Meanwhile, taking into consideration that there’s still plenty of time for him to screw this up, Gary Bettman hasn’t looked completely ridiculous of late in his efforts to get the game up and running, but part of that is probably because others have just been so awful, none more so than MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. Here’s his story in two tweets:
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says Major League Baseball will be played this year. pic.twitter.com/YYMiiLQgCs— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 10, 2020
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN on Monday he's "not confident" there will be a 2020 baseball season. https://t.co/abe4Y4euqM— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 15, 2020
Five. Days. Later. Yeesh, that’s a bad look. And the players want to play, but Manfred and the owners are just making it impossible for a deal to be struck. When someone is this bad at his job, it’s hard for guys like Bettman to not look like they know what they’re doing. Yeah, I know. Lots of time still...
Anyway, while we await the announcement of the 2nd hub city for the playoffs, the Canadian teams that have submitted bids got a big boost from the Prime Minister today:
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said about 10 minutes ago the Canadian gov’t will allow the NHL to have a hub city in Canada “as long as it is OK’d by the local authorities.” Full quote here: pic.twitter.com/CvCxoeyGGE— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) June 16, 2020
So, that’s good news for the cities involved (apart from the influx of hundreds of out of towners who could potentially bring the virus in, of course). No word yet on when we can expect an announcement, but it should be soon to allow for preparations to pull off this plan.