Sabres star Eichel not opposing Bylsma
If Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma’s job is in jeopardy, star forward Jack Eichel’s representatives insist their client is not the one pushing for a change.
Whether Bylsma returns for a third season won’t have any effect on Eichel negotiating a contract extension this summer, Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday.
“He loves the Pegulas and wants to be a longtime Sabre, and he loves Tim,” Donatelli said, referring to team owners Terry and Kim Pegula, and general manager Tim Murray.
“[A coaching change] is not even on his radar screen.”
And any suggestion the second-year player is threatening to balk at negotiating a contract extension if Bylsma is still coach is “1,000 percent false,” Donatelli said.
“It couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Fish.
Fish said Eichel “was genuinely excited” following end of season meetings with Murray and Bylsma last week, and “felt very positive with the plans for next year’s team.”
The two spoke at a time when Murray is meeting with Terry Pegula at the owner’s home in south Florida.
Last week, Murray backed Byslma’s return for a third season as Sabres coach despite the team missing the playoffs for a sixth year in a row.
Murray noted the ultimate decision on Bylsma and his own future rests with Pegula.
Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl was fined for spearing San Jose’s Chris Tierney. The NHL Department of Player Safety had a hearing with Draisaitl Wednesday before fining him $2,569.44, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement. Draisaitl received a major penalty and game misconduct when he hit Tierney in the groin with his stick in the second period of Edmonton’s 7-0 loss in Game 4 Tuesday.
Patrice Bergeron of Boston, Ryan Kesler of Anaheim and Mikko Koivu of Minnesota were announced as the three finalists for the 2016-17 Frank J. Selke Trophy. The award goes to the top defensive forward.