The Sabres and many in Buffalo media were convinced Mike Babcock was the next coach of the Buffalo Sabres. Radio hosts bragged about the bright future the last place Sabres have and writers with inside sources predicted with certainty that Babcock was coming to town. Mike Babcock apparently had other ideas as he made the last second move to nearby Toronto.

Babcock made it clear before the process began that he wanted control over the team and player personnel moves. The Sabres reportedly established that Babcock would be involved in the conversations about player moves, but he would not be at the top of the decision making process. Toronto gave Babcock exactly what he wanted, the final say. When Babcock looked at the Sabres and then the Leafs, he liked what he saw in Toronto better.

The Sabres were not alone in losing Babcock, Detroit and San Jose lost out as well, but it stings in more in the Queen City. The Sabres had the money and a laundry list of young talent in the organization, including rising star Jack Eichel. Still, Babcock chose the one city that worships at the alter of hockey more than any other in north America.

Tim Murray and the Pegulas now have to convince Sabres fandom that whoever is hired to replace the popular Ted Nolan is the right man to take the team to a Cup. Nothing less will be acceptable at the end of the day after the suffering fans experienced the last two seasons. The suffering that former GM Darcy Regier rightfully predicted fans would live through before the Sabres could become NHL champs.

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