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Jerry Sullivan's Hot Read: Pegula speaks briefly, says little

Terry Pegula said several times during Friday's press conference that his four watchwords for success were "discipline, structure, communication and character."

After three and a half years without a presser specifically about the Sabres, the owner gave a two-minute opening statement and answered questions for 12 minutes. That was it. So much for the public's right to know.

Pegula didn't give any reasons for firing general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma a day earlier. He thanked them and said they did a good job, which makes you wonder how long they would have lasted if he actually felt they were failing in their jobs.

Murray gave detailed criticisms of Bylsma in his final session with the media last week. And he got the ax. You would think Pegula could have echoed some of those criticisms of Bylsma. He was quick to point out, of course, that he wasn't involved in Murray's hiring. He was happy to dump that on former president Pat LaFontaine.

The co-owner, Kim Pegula, stood to the side with Russ Brandon, the current team president of both teams, and did not comment, which has become customary practice. Kim Pegula and Brandon were whisked away as soon as Terry completed his remarks, rather than make themselves available to the media.

It's regrettable that Kim Pegula, who is one of the few powerful women in major sports ownership and is said to wield at least as much power as her husband behind the scenes, chooses to stand behind her man in these moments of crisis.

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The Pegulas recently hired a public relations consultant to work with the Bills coaches and players. They have instituted a "one-voice" policy with the Bills, which is why new head coach Sean McDermott was alone on Thursday to conduct the pre-draft luncheon without GM Doug Whaley.

Whether there will be a similar policy with the Sabres is unclear. Pegula didn't allow enough time to get to some of the less pressing issues. I can't imagine them telling a GM candidate that he could have the job, but, by the way, all public comments are coming from the head coach.

Who knows with these people? Did their PR guru suggest it was OK for the owner to talk about his hockey team for 14 minutes every 42 months of silence? We're still waiting for him to explain the Lindy Ruff firing. Does he think it's OK for Kim to be uninvolved in press conferences, and for Whaley to be hidden in the back room like some daft uncle?

It's hard to say. But this sorry PR can't do much for their future recruiting efforts. When I asked Pegula if he intended to hire a veteran hockey man to be president, with the GM answering to him – the model LaFontaine put in place – he was evasive.

When I asked if he regretted not filling the job after firing LaFontaine, he gave an abrupt "No."

Why would he? Murray did a good job, right?

Sabres owner Terry Pegula: 'We have to get better'

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