Another disappointing day for Buffalo Sabres supporters.
While fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs are suddenly optimistic about the future of their hockey club, the feeling is a little different when you drive two hours south on the QEW.
Remember, this is a team that finished in 30th place yet lost April’s NHL draft lottery (i.e., Connor McDavid) to the Edmonton Oilers.
Multiple Buffalo reporters tweeted, citing anonymous sources, that the Sabres believed they had a deal in principle with Babcock for similar money and term, perhaps even more term. On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Babcock and the Sabres were in the thick of contract negotiations.
Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland told reporters his team was not willing to offer an extension longer than five years.
In the words of Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, the Sabres were "livid" to watch Babcock sign with their rivals to the north:
League source tells me #Sabres thought they had deal in principle w/ Babcock 2 days ago around same term/dollars as Leafs. Maybe even 9 yrs.
— Shawn Stepner (@StepnerWKBW) May 20, 2015
Sabres livid for way Babcock handled past few days. Sabres so confident he was coming that they were prepared for Monday news conference.
— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) May 20, 2015
Sabres didn't engage in bidding war against Leafs. They made their pitch (which they were confident in), waited for Mike Babcock's answer.
— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) May 20, 2015
— Matthew Barnaby (@MattBarnaby3636) May 20, 2015
Sabres felt they "had a deal" when talks ended late yesterday aftn. Sabres didn't rescind any elements of offer, MB didn't demand more.
— Greg Brady (@bradyfan590) May 20, 2015
Babcock will be introduced as head coach of the Maple Leafs Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.