With a dense fog stooped over downtown Buffalo, Terry Pegula revealed some managerial clarity.
The NFL and NHL owner held a news conference Friday morning in KeyBank Center to discuss the firings of Buffalo Sabres General Manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma.
Pegula took the blame for the Sabres' deficiencies, for overseeing a mess of an organization beset with defeats while coping with the peer pressure of watching other teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers rebuild more efficiently.
On one hand, Pegula was vulnerable. He admitted he wasn't as involved in the hiring of Murray or Bylsma as closely he should have been. On the other hand, Pegula was blaming those hires on ousted hockey ops boss Pat LaFontaine (for Murray) and Murray (for Bylsma).
"I was not involved in the last GM, coach search to a large extent, and I regret that," Pegula said. "And that's all I'm going to say about that."
To use another word, Pegula wasn't as privy as he should've been.
Pegula struck a tone that will resonate well with hockey fans. He used all kinds of references that warm the "hockey code" cackles: discipline, communication, character.
He also refuted Wednesday's report 20-year-old center Jack Eichel was leveraging his stardom to impact any decision on the coach.
These were wise things to say, lest the narrative of Eichel turning into a young punk continue to gain traction, which it might yet anyway.
Pegula called the report "fabricated," but I don't believe that. I can virtually guarantee WGR 550's Paul Hamilton received insight from a credible source. Perhaps that insight never floated all the way up to Pegula.
There are all sorts of ways for the report to be true and for Pegula not to have been, uh, privy.