Sabres fans express disappointment over Babcock

May 21, 2015

Not surprisingly, many Buffalo Sabres fans are feeling disappointed by the news that highly-sought hockey coach Mike Babcock will not be their hometown team's next bench boss.

Past Buffalo Sabres game.
Credit WBFO News file photo

Some were even more disappointed, but not necessarily surprised, that he instead opted to take the head coaching job with the Sabres' archrivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I was hoping he'd come here, but it kind of makes some sense that he's a Canadian and going to Toronto," said one fan inside 716, the restaurant located within the HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo, one block away from the Sabres' home at First Niagara Center.

Other fans, while expressing disappointment, took some playful jabs at the Maple Leafs while lamenting the coach who won't be coming to Buffalo.

"I'm stunned. I thought he wanted to win," said Jim from Colden with a laugh. "I don't see that happening for him in Toronto."

The Sabres go back to square one in their search for the candidate to replace previous head coach Ted Nolan, who was dismissed at the end of the 2014-15 National Hockey League regular season upon the Sabres' last place finish (that finish, combined with the results of the NHL Draft Lottery, gives the Sabres the second overall pick in June, which is highly anticipated to be Boston University standout Jack Eichel).

With Mike Babcock now committed to the Maple Leafs, other names mentioned include Dan Bylsma and Paul McLean - both of whom have previous NHL coaching experience - and minor league hockey coach Luke Richardson, who worked with current Sabres general manager Tim Murray within the Ottawa Senators organization before Murray moved to Buffalo.

"They'll find somebody else," said one fan at 716 who didn't disclose his name. "There's a lot of good coaches out there."